Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Oct 9:
With Odisha government appointing SBI Capital Markets Ltd (SBICAPS) as the transaction advisor or e-auction provider on Centre’s advice, the countdown for much-publicized auction of mines has begun in the state.
The process for auction of the mines in the state are now slated to begin by the end of December this year, Steel & Mines Minister Prafulla Mallick informed mediapersons here yesterday.
“In order to expedite the auction process, the Centre had written to the state government advising it to appoint a transaction advisor or e-auction provider. The Centre had given a proposal to appoint SBICAPS or MMTC (Metals and Minerals Trading Corporation of India) as the transaction advisor. The state government has chosen SBICAPS for the role and the auction process will begin by the end of December,” said Mallick.
A total of 10 mines will go under the hammer which includes the Khandadhar mines in Sundargarh district. Of them, four each are of iron ore and limestone, one each of manganese and bauxite. The differential global-positioning system (DGPS) survey and other allied works essential for e-auction are on the verge of completion. DGPS survey is targeted to be complete by the end this month.
All the mines that will be put up for auction are in functional state. The state government has requested the Centre for making more than 50 mines functional apart from these 10 mines.
Union Mines Secretary Balvinder Kumar had visited the state on July 23 and discussed the issue of auction of mines with the state Chief Secretary. “We are very happy that Odisha government has taken very proactive steps in this regard,” Kumar had said during his visit.
About 150 mines bearing major minerals will be auctioned by March next under the amended MMDR Act in a bid to introduce transparency in a sector that has been marked by shady ‘allotments’ in the past. Modi government’s move behind amending the Act was to allot mines through a transparent auction route and boost mining output that has been on the decline since 2011.