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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jun 30:

The Centre today asked the Odisha government to take steps to expedite the mining auction process in the state while noting that the state was lagging behind other mineral bearing states in the act.

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The Centre asked the state to put at least 7-8 blocks on auction as early as possible.

“Auction of mines has been delayed in the state. We have requested the state government to put 7-8 blocks on auction as early as possible,” said Balvinder Kumar, secretary Union Ministry of Mines to reporters after meeting state chief secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi.

He said the state government has cited problems with regard to conversion of mining blocks from G-3 to G-2 level as the reason behind the delay adding that some internal problems also existed.

Kumar claimed that the chief secretary has assured him that some blocks will be put up for auction within a month.

However, Kumar clarified that no issue was pending with the Centre as far as delay is concerned.

Only one iron ore block in Sundargarh district has been auctioned by the state ever since the new MMDR Act came into force, which is more than a year.

Kumar informed that enhancing aluminium production in the state was also discussed at the meeting.

The proposed aluminium park in the state also came up for discussion at the meeting.

The Union Mines secretary said Nalco and the state government will be working out a mechanism to determine the cost of primary aluminium to be supplied to the industries adding that Centre will try to resolve certain issues raised by the state government.

Nalco is ready for assisting in the development of Lord Jagannath Temple in Puri, it is very important for the aluminium major as well as the pilgrim town, Kumar said.