Operationalise Coal Blocks To Expedite Odisha’s Economic Recovery, Industry Body Urges CMO

Bhubaneswar: In a letter to the Chief Secretary and Chief Development Commissioner of Odisha, a leading industry body requested for expediting the operationalization of Coal Mining Blocks in the state for overall socio-economic development. The letter dated June 18, also stated that to ensure smooth and fast execution of the operationalisation of the coal mining blocks, a dedicated cell in the State Government should be established under the purview of the chief minister’s office.

The letter highlighted how, since 2015, a total of 12 coal mines have been allocated and auctioned in Odisha. These have a production capacity of 97 million ton per annum and will generate revenue of over Rs. 7,000 Crs. per annum for the state exchequer, creating over 1 Lakh direct and indirect local jobs.

However, out of these 12 coal mines,not a single private sector mine has been able to start production due to delay in land acquisition and statutory approvals. They remain idle and restricted from contributing to the economic growth of the state.

Requesting the state’s intervention at the earliest, the industry body suggested a fortnightly review mechanism of a dedicated cell under the commandership of the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) to grant all permissions required to expedite the land acquisition and statutory approvals to start the mine production at the earliest.

The letter also stressed how the pandemic has had a reverse effect on the livelihood of the state. The pandemic has had a great economic impact across the globe and in Odisha too. The GSDP is estimated to contract by 4.9% due to the impact of COVID-19. However, Odisha fared better with respect to the rest of the country whose overall GDP had contracted at a higher rate of 7.3% in 2020-21.

The leading industry body highlighted how the economic disruption created due to the pandemic can be mitigated if the Coal Mining Blocks in the state of Odisha can be expeditiously brought under operations. This will generate huge revenue for the state and create massive number of local jobs that have been lost due to the pandemic. It will restore and better the economic environment of the state.

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