Priyadarshi Siddhanta : New Delhi—Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh has hit out at state-run miner NMDC for allegedly “ignoring” the needs of the tribals in the state’s naxal-hit Bastar district by denying them promised employment and spending paltry money for their welfare.
In a letter to steel minister Beni Prasad Verma late last month, Raman Singh said that despite having three-fourth of its total mining operations in Chhattisgarh’s mineral-rich Bastar and adjoining areas, the PSU has failed to satisfy the aspirations of the tribals, there by failing to provide them adequate employment and turning a blind eye to their welfare by spending little money from its huge corporate social responsibility budget.
Cautioning the steel minister that the naxals, who operate heavily in the Bastar district. may capitalise on the discontentment, the chief minister suggested that as an immediate remedy his government’s mines secretary should be expressly inducted as a member of NMDC’s board to sensitise the PSU’s top brass on the needs and aspirations of the tribal populace and economic needs of the state. “I request you to seriously consider inducting our state mines secretary in NMDC board for portraying the aspirations of the tribal population in the Bastar district,” Singh told Verma. He argued that NMDC will have to strike a right balance between extracting iron ore from the Dantewada mines and meeting the needs of the tribals.
A senior steel ministry official said that the steel ministry has ruled out allowing the state mines secretary any place in the PSU’s board. “The ministry is also of the view that the state should not dictate the commercial interests of NMDC and in its mineral distribution policy,” he argued.