|BHUBANESWAR, DEC 30: The Orissa
government has cleared the path for the location of private sector
projects in scheduled areas of the state. The state government has
formulated a policy for grant of mining lease and transfer of land
in Schedule Areas for commercial projects.
There was confusion over the grant of mining leases and transfer
of lands in the scheduled areas following the Supreme Courtís
verdict in the Samata Vs Andhra Pradesh case. However, the state has
made an attempt through the policy to strike a balance between
development needs and the interest of the tribals.
Announcing the government policy for grant of mining lease and
transfer of land for commercial projects in scheduled areas, chief
secretary PK Mohanty said there should be a sensitive rehabilitation
and resettlement (R&R) policy to take care of affected tribals.
Besides, the company setting up projects in the scheduled area
should make adequate provision for employment of local tribals.
The companies should agree to earmark five per cent preferential
equity shares of the proposed project for the displaced persons. The
allotments of the shares must be in tradable lots. Five per cent of
the annual profit should also be spent by the company on peripheral
development within 50 km radius of the project. The spending would
be monitored by a trust represented by the district collector and
the revenue divisional commissioner.
The government policy is likely to bring in great relief to
private companies like Utkal Alumina International Ltd, Aditya
Aluminium and Sterlite Industries (India) Ltd. Utkal Aluma, a
consortium led by Indal, is facing trouble in locating the refinery
plant in Kasipur of Rayagada district because of the project site
and the mines falls in the scheduled areas.
Similar is the case with the Aditya Aluminium and Sterlite
Industries. Since the bauxite reserves in the state are located in
the scheduled areas, the government also found it difficult to
transfer the land and grant the mining lease because of the
stringent provisions in the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution.
Moreover, the Supreme Courtís verdict on the Samata Vs AP
government made it more difficult the development activities in the
However, the state government took a decision on development in
scheduled areas of the state. A committee headed by chief secretary
submitted a report outlining the policy which was approved by a
cabinet sub-committee constituted for the purpose. Finally, the
policy was received the cabinet approval on Monday.