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Opp plans to keep winter session warm with OMC-Sainik deal

BS Reporter/Kolkata/ Bhubaneswar 27 Nov 12 | 12:43 AM

Principle opposition party Congress has planned to corner the state government over the Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC) and Sainik Mining deal for mining of coal, which was declared ‘illegal’ by the Central government a week ago.

“We will raise Sainik Mining and phone tapping issue in the winter session," said a Congress leader after Congress Legislative Party meet here on Monday.

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The central government last week revealed that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has initiated probe into the contentious joint venture pact between the state-owned Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC) and Delhi-based Sainik Mining & Allied Services Ltd (SMASL) for coal mining in the state.

Both companies had formed a JV named Kalinga Coal Mining (Private) Ltd for raising coal from Utkal D block in Angul district, allotted to OMC, with an estimated coal reserve of 138 million. It was alleged that the 74 per cent controlling stake of SMASL in the venture violated Coal Mines (Nationalisation) Act-1973.

The Attorney General of India, GE Vahanvati appearing for the Union government in a Public Interest Litigation (PIL), had apprised the Supreme Court that the Centre has already written to the state government terming the pact as ‘illegal’.

The decision of CBI probe in the deal is a set back to the state government, after it decided to scrap the deal in October.

Besides the coal mining issue, the Opposition has decided to raise other burning topics like imposition of Rs 70,000 crore penalty by the state government on the miners accused of excess production, controversial death of an ayurvedic female doctor in Puri and distressed sale of paddy. Issues such as Naxal violence, tapping of over 4,000 phones in last four years, corruption in supply of groundnut seed would also be raised, said Bhupinder Singh, opposition leader.

Ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) has also chalked out its strategy to counter the opposition allegation.

“We are ready to face any discussion that the opposition wants to bring on the floor of the house. We will also raise various issues such as the neglect of the Central government, price rise and many scams of the UPA government," said Naveen Patnaik, after chairing the BJD legislative party meeting.

The winter session of the state assembly will continue till December 22. The government will also present the Rs 3,860 crore supplementary budget and table16 bills in the session, 15 of which are old ones, during the session.

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