Bhubaneswar : After accomplishing 124% increase (Rs.680 cr in absolute figures) in revenue generation from minor minerals in the FY 2019-20, the State has further enhanced its resource base in the sector.

The efforts over last months have yielded 1132 new sairats (resources) taking the total to 4667. This was known from a high level meeting held on digital mode under chairmanship Asit Tripathy from Lokseba Bhawan conference hall Friday wherein principal secretray revenue and disaster management Bishnupada Sethi outlined the issues for discussion.

While complementing the department and field officials for their efforts, chief secretary directed to “evolve the strategy for optimizing the sustainable use of the minor minerals”. The department was advised to professionalize the Directorate of Minor Minerals with the public sector approaches for “increasing availability, meeting the market demand, achieving price stability and augmenting of revenue generation”. Tripathy directed to “focus on process reengineering for tracking the extraction and transportation of minor minerals through application of i4MS software”.

Further, he advised additional chief secretary forest & environment Dr Mona Sharma to make State Level Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) more efficient with necessary technical and manpower support. SEIAA was also asked to expedite the issue environmental clearances within specified time period.

Presenting the updates, principal secretary Sethi said, “Because of the extensive efforts in the current year, the total number of minor mineral sources, as of today has reached 4667 out of which 1428 sources have already been put to operation”. Chief Secretary Sri Tripathy directed the Collectors to operationalize all potential sources by 30th November.

With regard to the sources in sand rich river beds, principal secretary Sethi appraised, “Five large stretches of river sand beds (four in Jajpur and one in Angul district) with area above 100 acre have been identified for sand mining. Chief Secretary asked the Principal Secretary Water Resources Smt Anu Garg to scientifically identify such sand beds in the major rivers like Mahanadi, Rushikulya, Subarnarekha, Baitarani, Brahmani keeping in view the unabated flow of the water course and other environmental issues”. The department was advised to complete 1st phase identification in two months.

Further, chief secretary directed to make district wise demand-supply gap assessment for monitoring the availability of minor minerals in all the districts. The issues relating to the scope of exploration of minor minerals from royati land were also discussed in the meeting.

Development commissioner Suresh Chandra Mohapatra, principal secretary steel & mines Surendra Kumar, principal secretary finance Ashok Kumar Meena, secretary works Krishan Kumar and director minor minerals Bibhuti Bhusan Das participated in the deliberations.