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Odisha to form panel to fix problems for central PSUs

Jayajit Dash/Kolkata/ Bhubaneswar 16 Jun 12 | 12:27 AM

The Odisha government is mulling to form a committee chaired by Chief Secretary B K Patnaik to address problems faced exclusively by the Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) of the government of India operating in the state.

The committee is being planned as per directive of the Union ministry of statistics and programme implementation with a mandate to fix greater accountability on line departments to resolve different issues.

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“The committee will be headed by the Chief Secretary and will have secretaries of departments of steel & mines, industries, energy and revenue as members. The panel will specifically look into problems faced by Central PSUs in respect of land acquisition, forest clearance, forest land diversion and water allotment," said a senior state official.

The committee will cater to PSUs like National Thermal Power Corporation Ltd (NTPC), National Aluminium Company Ltd (Nalco), Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL) and Rourkela Steel Plant (RSP), a unit of Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL).

While Nalco had complained on issues related to allotment of water, MCL is perpetually battling protests from land losers in its mining sites.

In February this year, SAIL had a tough time negotiating with top state officials after it was asked to stop mining activities immediately at Bolani mines following the expiry of forest clearance on February 11.

SAIL was excavating the Bolani mine under deemed extension provision of the Mineral and Mineral (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957. However, the company had received forest clearance from the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), Government of India for about 706 hectares of forest land that was valid till February 11.

Bolani mines, spread over 1,597 hectares in Keonjhar district under Joda mines circle, possesses rich grade of iron ore which is primarily used in the SAIL’s Durgapur steel plant. The mine has an estimated reserve of about 150 million tonnes.

In 2008, SAIL had announced to invest Rs 120 crore to develop Bolani mines that included deploying highly efficient earth moving equipment and other effective mining method.

Similarly, NTPC is yet to complete land acquisition for its two super thermal power projects, each of capacity 1,600 MW at Gajamara in Dhenkanal district and Darlipalli in Sundergarh district.

The state government is contemplating to set up special land acquisition cells to speed up the project work.

While the Darlipalli power station needs 1,652 acres, the Gajamara project is going to be set up on 1,013 acres. NTPC will invest Rs 24,000 crore on these two projects which are going to be taken up in the 12th Plan Period.

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