Tribal affairs minister Juel Oram Sunday reiterated his stand against the proposed iron ore mining by Posco India in Khandadhar hills advocating zero displacement of people and zero harm to environment while setting up projects. “My stand on mining in Khandadhar hills remains unchanged,” said the 53-year-old tribal leader during his first visit to Orissa after becoming minister in Narendra Modi cabinet.
Since the last seven years, Oram has opposed move to allow iron ore mining in Khandadhar. Earlier this year, the BJD government had granted prospecting licence to Posco over Khandadhar iron ore reserve in 2,500 hectare.
On the Polavaram project, Oram accused the Naveen Patnaik government of failing to raise the issue effectively in the interest of the state despite the fact that the dam will affect a large number of people in the state.
Centre to fix MSP for 10 forest produce
The Union minister said the Centre has decided to fix the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for at least 10 minor forest produce, including sal seed, mahua seed and tamarind, to provide remunerative prices to tribals. “All procurement agencies will be bound to pay the MSP for the forest produce,” said Oram, adding the measure would go a long way in mitigating the plight of tribals and forest dwellers who depend on forest produce.