New Delhi: The Centre on Thursday said Odisha government`s recent decisions in mining sector, including restricting shipping out of minerals from the state, are not within the legal framework of the country.
"Yesterday we advised the state government where they put a condition that 50 per cent of the mineral, which is to be produced and sold to the industry within the state, is not in the legal framework of the country," Joint Secretary in the Mines Ministry Naresh Kumar told reporters here.
When asked whether the state government would follow the Centre`s direction, he said that "in a given framework of mining sector between state and Centre, we have brought the provisions of the law before the state government and we do hope and sincerely believe that the state government will act accordingly."
The Mines Ministry`s views have been vetted by the Law Ministry, Kumar added.
The Odisha government, during September-October last year, had decided to change its policy on mining sector after illegal mining issues rocked the state and had subsequently put several curbs on the industry.
The moves included reserving all new mining deposits for Orissa Mining Corporation -- a state PSU, keeping 50 percent of iron ore, produced in the state, for industries within the state, not renewing mining leases for subsequent term unless the mineral is to be used for captive usage.
Justifying the moves, like restricting shipping of minerals from the state, the Odisha government had earlier said that changes are required to keep a check on illegal mining and to meet the commitments made to the investors on raw material front.
However, Mines Minister Dinsha Patel disagreed with the Odisha government`s views and said that "major minerals are in the domain of Centre and I believe that state governments should act as per the guidelines set by the Central government."
Officials of the Odisha government could not be reached for comments on the matter.
Iron ore, bauxite, chrome ore, manganese are among some of the minerals on which such restrictions were put. All these minerals are classified as `major minerals` for long by the Centre and are found in abundance in Odisha.
The state government`s move had affected entire mining industry in the state, including some big names like Tata Steel, SAIL, Aditya Birla group`s Essel Mining and KJS Ahluwalia group.