Orissa CM smells nexus between Centre, mine owners

Suspecting a "nexus" between rich mine owners and UPA govt at Centre, Naveen Patnaik asked Cong MLAs to stop "shedding crocodile tears" over welfare of the state.

Last Updated: Dec 21, 2011, 00:00 AM IST

Bhubaneswar: Suspecting a "nexus" between
rich mine owners and the UPA government at the Centre, Odisha
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Tuesday asked Congress MLAs to
stop "shedding crocodile tears" over welfare of the state.

Patnaik said this in the Assembly after the state
cabinet resolved to move the Centre to levy mineral resources
rent tax on iron ore at 50 per cent of the surplus rent.

The tax collected from mine owners should be spent for
improving social and physical infrastructure, strengthen
welfare measures besides improving the livelihood of people in
the mining areas, Patnaik said in a suo motu statement.

Stating that he had been repeatedly demanding
imposition of mineral resources rent tax on mine owners,
Patnaik said he had raised the issue at the National
Integration Council meeting on September 10 and National
Development Council meeting on October 22.

"My requests to the Centre to revise the royalty on
minerals have also failed to evoke timely and appropriate
response," Patnaik said adding he did not understand why the
central government was not responding to the state`s demand.

Patnaik said though he had written many letters to
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh demanding imposition of mineral
resource rent tax to help the state for welfare of people, it
was not considered.

"After all, tax we are asking for is from mine owners
and not a contribution from the Delhi `Durbar`," Patnaik said.

I
"Does the central government have a soft corner for
private mine owners? It would seem that these few fabulously
rich people have undue influence on the central government,"
the CM said.

Not only does the Centre not give the state its just
dues, it also seems reluctant to tax these rich mine owners,
Patnaik alleged.

Without naming Congress MLAs, he said certain members
of the House should stop "shedding crocodile tears" and go to
their masters who rule from Delhi and demand imposition of
this more justified tax for Odisha.

"It may be just possible that many honourable members
of the opposition in this House do not get appointments from
their bosses in the central government who are drowning in a
sea of mega scams," Patnaik said.

PTI