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SEMT to utilise green fund from minor minerals in Odisha

Bhubaneswar, July 11: The Odisha Government on Monday decided to bring the environment management fund collected from all minor mineral and sairat sources under State Environment Management Trust (SEMT) for utilisation as per its mandate. 

Decision to this effect was taken at a meeting held under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi at the State Secretariat on Monday.

It was decided in the meeting that five percent of the royalty of the minor minerals and all sairat sources would be collected as per provisions in Odisha Minor Mineral Concession Rules. This fund would come to State Environment Management Trust already constituted under the chairmanship of Additional Chief Secretary (Finance).

Reviewing the processes involved in the collection and utilisation of funds, Chief Secretary Padhi advised Member-Secretary State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) Rajiv Kumar to put the system of issuing ‘consent to operate’ the quarries online. The board was also advised to put the option of offline mode open for those who find it convenient for them.

Member Secretary Kumar informed the meeting that the authority to issue the ‘consent for operation’ would be delegated to its regional offices in order to make the system easier and quicker.

After emerging out of the meeting, Principal Secretary Forest and Environment Suresh Chandra Mohapatra told reporters that the SEMT constituted from the year 2006 is presently working for environmental protection and development in the State.

“Five percent of the royalty collected as per the OMMC rules would add to its existing fund sources. The funds would be utilised for environmental conservation, restoration and regeneration activities like plantation both in rural and urban area, renovation of water bodies, creation of eco-parks, plantation of the bald hills etc,” said Mohapatra.

Principal Secretary Steel and Mines Raj Kumar Sharma, Principal Secretary Revenue and Disaster management Dr Mona Sharma, Member Secretary OSPCB R Kumar, Director Environment Sraban Kumar Sinha, Director Mines Deepak Mohanty along with other senior officers from concerned departments participated in the deliberations.

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