Odisha miners pledge Rs 100 cr fund for local area development
New Delhi/Odisha: Eight mine owners of Odisha have joined hands to invest about Rs 100 crore for local area development of two mineral rich districts -- Keonjhar and Sundergarh.
The mine owners made this commitment before the Justice MB Shah Commission, which is probing the illegal mining issues in the state and have formed a trust -- Gramin Vikas Chaitnya Kendra (GVCK) for investing the money, said Prashant Ahluwalia, Managing Director of KJS Ahluwalia group.
He added that Rs 100 crore corpus is only for first couple of years and after that, all the participants have pledged to share 4-5 per cent of their profit after tax (PAT) into the trust (the GVCK).
"Corpus of this fund is Rs 100 crore but that is to start the project. It will go up as and when required. After couple of years, we intend to share 4 to 5 per cent of our PAT for the local development through the trust," he told PTI.
His group is among the mine owners who have made the pledge to invest the money. Others include RP Sao, DR Patnaik, Indrani Patnaik, Kalinga Mining Corp, Sirajuddin & Co, and Thriveni Earthmovers.
All of them have mines in mineral rich but backward districts of Keonjhar and Sundergarh.
Ahluwalia added that guided by former Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium, who is representing his firm before the Commission, the detailed execution plan was presented on April 21 to the Commission.
"He (Justice Shah) appreciated it. Now we have to implement it," Ahluwalia said, adding that "the GVCK has already been registered. We are going one step ahead of the CSR (corporate social responsibility), we are going for sustainable development."
The GVCK will consist of social activists, experts, eminent persons of the society and state government representatives and they will be assigned to oversee the implementation.
However, Ahluwalia denied that creation of the trust is to douse the fire of illegal mining, being probed by the Shah Commission.
"What we have proposed to do is separate from the probe. What do you think that he (Justice Shah) will listen to any one if there is any case of illegal mining. The legal aspect, whether it is illegal or excessive mining, are all separate. The GVCK is not an attempt to dilute the probe," he said.
Through GVCK, the mine owners plan to build education centres, super-speciality hospital, sports academy. Roads and bridges construction, providing drinking water to the villages, restoring original flora and fauna of the areas are also on the agenda.
The Shah Commission, which has so far submitted two reports -- an interim report on over all illegal mining and a separate report on the same issue in Goa, has completed its hearing on Odisha. Its report on illegal mining issues in the state is expected within next few months.