Orissa babus may face action over mining bid

Orissa babus may face action over mining bid

Vishwa Mohan | TNN

New Delhi: Top Orissa bureaucrats who are members of the Bhubaneswar Club may have a lot of explaining to do over how the elite club came to bid for a major mining project in the state. Reacting to TOI’s report on the club’s entrepreneurial ambitions, the Centre plans to ask the state government to examine whether the bureaucrats’ actions infringed service conduct rules.

<!----><!---->Satyanand Mishra, secretary, ministry of personnel told TOI that action could be taken if the bureaucrats were found to have violated service rules. “The Centre by itself will not examine the matter. Its role comes in only when the state writes to it. It could then initiate action against the officers,’’ he said.

<!----><!---->The club, which has a number of IAS officers as permanent members, is one of the applicants for the Khandadhar iron ore reserves in Sundargarh, which the Orissa government wants to give to South Korean steel giant Posco.

<!----><!---->The club’s application has raised eyebrows within bureaucratic circles here as its president, Priyabrata Patnaik, is currently serving as secretary (commerce and transport) in the state and has been appointed ‘nodal officer’ for the Rs 51,000 crore Posco project.

<!----><!---->Asked whether the move was consistent with the service rules for All India Service officers, Satyanand Mishra said, “It is for the state to examine the matter and find out whether the club, which is registered under the Companies Act, is eligible to bid to operate a mine particularly when a number of serving and retired officers are its members.’’

<!----><!---->The club had filed the application for Khandadhar reserves two years ago when Posco signed an MoU with the state government for establishing a 12-million-tonne per annum steel facility at Paradeep.

<!----><!---->The state government will now have to examine the motive of the club to see whether it was really interested in the project or had put its hat in the ring for some other reason. “The government will also have to find out whether the decision was taken to benefit other leading companies associated with the club as corporate members,’’ said a senior officer.

The Times of India ePaper