Stopping mining projects not a solution to displaced people:FM

"Answer does not lie in the companies stopping mining activities. Answer lies in providing alternatives to those displaced... in what form we can compensate them and make them beneficiary of economic development," Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee told the Coal Summit.

Mukherjee's comments come at a time when a Group of Ministers (GoM), headed by him, is deliberating upon a proposal to give tribals a part of profits in mining projects.
"We are addressing this issue," he said.

The GoM has proposed that 26 per cent of the net profit of mining projects should go to the displaced tribals and other affected locals. However, the proposal has been criticised in certain quarters. Meanwhile, the Mines Ministry had said its final draft will go with the recommendations of the GoM.

"Based on the discussion of the Group of Ministers, the final draft of the new mining bill is being prepared by the Mines Ministry and will be placed before the GoM. After that it is to be sent to the Cabinet," Mines Secretary S Vijay Kumar had said.

The GoM will meet soon to clear the final draft of the Bill. An estimated Rs 1.5 lakh crore worth of greenfield steel projects of ArcelorMittal and Posco have been delayed for about 5 years due to tribal protects against land acquisition in areas like Orissa and Jharkhand. Mukherjee also asked coal companies to make investment in coal washing to realise better returns in the long run.

"In our medium term plan we should emphasise on coal washing. The moment we supply washed coal to the end users, I think we can charge little more... therefore more investment in this aspect will be paying in the long term," he said.

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