The Orissa government has informed the Supreme Court that it is creating a special purpose vehicle for undertaking specific tribal welfare and area development works.
This action by the state comes three months after the court asked for the formation of a SPV so as to ensure inclusive growth of mineral bearing areas.
The company is called Odisha Mineral Bearing Areas Development Corporation and has been formed out of 50 per cent of the net present value of the Rs 2,563.04 crore recovered from leaseholders of mines.
The Supreme Court in an order dated January 27, directed that 50 per cent of the additional amounts of the net present value recovered by the Orissa government from the mining lessees to be used for the creation of the SPV.
The state forest department in its letter to the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) last month said the SPV will be a Section 25 company and have a paid up capital of Rs 1 lakh to be provided by the state government. Its main objective would be to implement the identified projects/works for tribal welfare and area development.
The court has asked the state government to file a comprehensive plan within the next four weeks for the development of the tribals taking into account their needs for health, education, communication, recreation, livelihood and cultural lifestyle as indicated in the court judgment in the TN Godavarman vs Union of India case in 2008.
In December 2009, senior journalist Rabi Das had filed the Interlocutory Application before the CEC regarding the alleged illegal mining in the lapsed/invalid mining leases/areas in Orissa and sought appointment of a commission to investigate and study the modalities of the illegalities, fix responsibility on individuals and recommend remedial measures.
The CEC in its interim recommendation in April 2010 said that all the mining lease holders in Orissa should be directed to pay the net present value for the entire forest area, included in the mining leases.
Currently, the net present value decided by the court ranges between Rs 4.38 lakh per hectare to Rs 10.43 lakh per hectare depending on the density of the forest.
The SPV would be headed by the state chief secretary with officials of related ministries as members. The area of operation would be the mineral bearing districts of Orissa.