Odisha govt identifies gemstone tracts along Mahanadi river


Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government has identified seven gemstone tracts along the Mahanadi river.

The places identified are Naktimundi-Siali in Subarnapur-Bargarh  districts; Badamal–Murusundi and Bikina Sonepur in Subarnapur; Boudh-Ramgarh, Bargochha, Kantamal-Manmunda in Boudh; and Jujumara-Bagdhapa-Tablei in Sambalpur district.

Sources in the steel and mines department said the government has not leased out these tracts to any private or public players for exploration.

The process is on to carry out exploration operations in these tracts as per the new Mines and Minerals (Development & Regulation) Act 2015.

Odisha has assumed international prominence because of its wide array of colored stones and diamond. Around 52 gem belts have been traced across the state including 28 gem bearing tracts that have been identified in past through UNDP aided exploration in Kalahandi, Nuapada, Bolangir, Boudh, Subarnapur, Angul, Sambalpur, Rayagada and Koraput districts.

Gemstones like ruby, sapphire, aquamarine, heliodor, garnets chrysoberyl cat’s-eye, Sillimanite cat’s-eye, topaz, zircon, iolite, tourmaline and few others detected in these belts are of very good quality, officials said.

The Odisha government is considering a revised policy for the unorganized gemstone mining sector that would facilitate the state earn Rs.50-60 crore per annum.

The government has decided to amend the gemstone policy, which was last amended in 1998, to regulate the sector.

The policy would regulate illegal transportation besides exploration while the violation of norms would attract possible punishment.

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