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‘Experts’ frown on gram sabhas taking decision on mining


Odisha Sun Times Business Bureau

Bhubaneswar, Feb 23:

Speaking at a seminar here on Sunday, top mining honchos pooh-poohed the current tendency to give veto power on mining to gram sabhas and NGOs.

ucci seminar

Addressing a seminar on “Forest & Environment Clearances for Sustainable mining” organised by the Mining & Geology and Forest & Environment Committee of Utkal Chamber of Commerce & Industry (UCCI) on the occasion of the golden jubilee celebrations of UCCI here, former Director of Mines and Advisor, SGAT, Bhubneswar BK Mohanty said; “The people who understand the least about mining are expected to give their verdict and the government works accordingly which is strange.”

Coming down heavily on NGOs for what he called ‘spreading negativity’ about the Industries to be set up in their locality, Mohanty said’; “We must find a way to check NGOs spreading the idea that industries not pro-environment and pro-people.”

Speaking on the occasion, Amiya Kr. Mohapatra Additional P.C.C.F (GIS) called for redrafting the Forest Act of 1996 ‘from scratch’. Expressing serious concern over the unnecessary bottle necks created by the Act, he said, “The definition of the forest which was framed in 1996 needs to be revisited. Consolidation of small patches of pastures to create workable space and concentrated forest areas should be done.”

In his short address, Ramesh Mahapatra, President, UCCI, said, “Mines are the mainstay of our economy. If we cannot harness it, we have no future.”

Debabrata Dash, Secretary, UCCI, resolved to take a stand and fight for the Industrialist against the prejudiced and defamed section of mining industrialist.

The workshop had two sessions, the first being a discussion session where eminent personalities Sidhant Das, Additional P.C.C.F (Nodal), Bhubaneswar, Deepak Mohanty, Director of Mines, Odisha, and Ashok Bal, CEO, Essel Mining & Industries Ltd. put forward their views on the issue.

The second was a technical session where Piyush Srivastav, Chief, TATA, Sasol Project, Bhubaneswar, D.B. Sundaram, E.I.C (FAMD), TATA Steel Ltd., Kolkata and Dillip Behera, Senior Scientist, OPSCB, BBSR made presentations on topics related to the issue.

M.V. Rao, Co-Chairman, MG & FE Committee, UCCI presented the vote of thanks.

The Chamber has lined up a series of such seminars on various subjects during the the next three days as part its golden jubilee year celebrations.