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Heads of mineral-rich states to meet President

By R Krishna Das in Raipur
August 06, 2007 13:23 IST
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Chief ministers of five mineral-rich states, including Chhattisgarh, will meet Home Minister Shivraj Patil in New Delhi tomorrow to demand rejection of the recommendations of the Hooda Committee on mining.

Patil chairs a group of ministers set up by the prime minister to examine the recommendations of the committee following strong protests from the mineral-rich states.

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh, Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda, Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje Scindia are landing in Delhi on Tuesday to meet Patil. The appointment has been fixed for afternoon.

According to highly placed sources, the states with rich mineral deposits have lodged a strong protest at some of the points mentioned by the Hooda committee. The prominent ones include the right of the Centre to allot a mining lease to any firm in case the state concerned fails to take any decision within the stipulated period.

The Chhattisgarh chief minister had earlier written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with a plea to note the views of the states with rich mineral reserves before finalising the national mineral policy.

Singh underlined that a good mineral policy could even help the state in curbing the Naxal problem, being faced by Jharkhand and Orissa as well.

The prime minister had earlier assured that a meeting of the states with rich mineral deposits would be convened separately to note down their views before finalising the policy.

However, the meeting could not take place, forcing the chief ministers to now lodge their protest with the head of the GoM.

 

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R Krishna Das in Raipur
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