As the state government gives the final touches to the norms for establishment of District Mineral Foundations (DMF), experts have started evaluating the possible revenue gains and stressed on a master plan for fund utilisation. All leaseholders are required to contribute an amount to the DMF equivalent to the royalty as per the amended Mines and Minerals (Development & Regulation) MMDR Act, 2015. "As per the current rate, the contribution to the DMF will be of the order of Rs 2000 crore in Joda and approximately Rs 800 crore for the Koira sector. It is necessary that the money to be accrued need to be spent judiciously", said Prasanna Kumar Panda, vice president, Eastern Zone Mining Association (EZMA). He was speaking at a workshop on 'Action Plan for Development of Barbil-Joda-Koira Mining Area', held at Barbil recently. Panda suggested that a special purpose vehicle (SPV) may be formed to decide on fund utilisation. The SPV may be chaired by the concerned district collector with the deputy directors of Joda and Koira mining circles as members of the SPV.
It can also have representation from some key miners operating in the area like Tata Steel, Essel Mining & Industries Ltd, Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL), Serajuddin and Rungta Mines. He stressed on formulation of a master plan for overall development of the area. The SPV can focus on areas like infrastructure development, provision of safe and wholesome drinking water to villages in periphery, skill development of the local youth for undertaking various jobs in mining and associated industries and development of healthcare facilities in the surrounding villages. Speaking on the occasion, S N Parida, joint director of geology (Odisha) said, The Five Year Perspective Plan (2015-20) and 10 Year Perspective Plan of Exploration (2015-25) are being submitted to the planning and coordination department. The directorate has planned to procure high capacity drilling rigs for proving existing resources of iron ore in the state. Pankaj Satija, general manager, Tata Steel said, "Good infrastructure will help in reducing the cost of production and improving the productivity. A part of the fund should also be spent for improving the water supply system in the area", Satija said. "The amended MMDR Act is a bold step to facilitate development of the primary mining regions of Joda- Barbil- Koira and the districts of Keonjhar and Sundergarh as a whole. Basic requirements have been lacking in the area even though the mining and allied activities generate the maximum revenue to the government", said Saroj Pattnaik, vice president, EZMA. Participants at the workshop recommended that a task force be constituted to assess the status and category of resources in the existing mines and idle leases, the quantum of work to be carried out to bring each deposit to at least G-2 level and also assess requirement of manpower, their training, equipment, laboratory facilities and make provision for the same. Since most of the reserves of iron and manganese ores in Joda-Barbil-Koira area are located in forest land, Union ministry of mines, state department of steel & mines, EZMA and Federation of Indian Mineral Industires (FIMI) should together make efforts to permit exploration in forest lands without obtaining prior approval of the Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF). S K Sarangi, president, Society for Geoscientists & Allied Technologists (SGAT) also spoke on the occasion.