The Odisha government recommended grant of the Sijurumali and Kuturumali bauxite mines in favor of Larsen & Toubro (L&T) following a commitment by the company that it will set up an aluminum refinery at Rayagada district.
The recommendation for grant of mining lease has been sent to the centre informed Steel and Mines Minister Prafulla Mallick. Grant of mining lease over the two areas has been a long pending issue and the recent amendments to the MMDR Act resulting in auction of mines is said to have expedited a proposal that has been hanging fire since 1994.
The state government as well as the company, are hopeful that the provision to recommend and grant, rather than auction, for cases in which applications have been pending or prospecting license granted etc prior to the amendment of the Act would enable L&T to get the said mines without entering in to the auction process. Recently, the Leader of Opposition and former law minister, Narasingha Mishra had alleged a deal in the move to recommend the case of L&T.
He had alleged that the prospecting license to the company had been given in 1992 for a period of two years and in 1994 it had applied for mining lease. He charged that thestate had rejected the ML application in 2001 on the plea that L&T had not fulfilled obligation in setting up an industry.