The Chhattisgarh government has decided to explore new areas bearing reserves of precious minerals, including diamond, gold, silver and copper, in the state with the assistance of companies which are experts in the field, an official said on Tuesday.
A decision in this regard was taken during the state mining department's meeting chaired by Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Monday, the public relations department official said.
Baghel also instructed the officials to utilise funds from the District Mineral Foundation (DMF) for various construction activities in rural and tribal-dominated areas, he said.
“The CM approved a proposal (presented by the department officials) seeking cooperation of companies with technical expertise for the exploration of new areas having reserves of precious minerals like diamond, gold, silver, copper, tungsten, base metal, nickel, PGE (platinum-group elements), bauxite and iron ore in the state,” he said.
Baghel also instructed the officials to complete preparations for the auction of 18 mineral blocks, including 10 of iron ore and eight of limestone, within the prescribed time-limit of six months.
Chhattisgarh would receive around Rs 200 crore from the auctioning of these blocks and after the mining commences there, the state will start fetching a revenue of about Rs 1,998 crore every year, the official said.
Highlighting the state's performance in utilising DMF funds, the CM said, “The DMF fund should be used in developing grazing grounds and construction of sheds in 'gauthans' (places in villages where livestock are kept at day time) for multi-activity centres in villages”.
The state government has planned to develop gauthans as rural industrial parks where the construction of sheds will make it easier for self-help groups (SHGs) to carry out economic activities, Baghel said.
Similarly, the DMF funds should also be utilised in arranging vehicles to be used as mobile clinics under the 'Mukhyamantri Haat Bazar Clinic' scheme. The construction of 'Devgudi' and 'Ghotul' in Bastar should also be done using funds from the DMF, the chief minister said.
Devgudi are places of worship of tribals, while Ghotul is a tradition as per which young boys and girls come to celebrate any festival at a place called 'ghotul' and they are free to choose their own life partner there.The official said Chhattisgarh has been ranked second among the states in the country for sanctioning works from the DMF and spending from this fund. Around 68 per cent of the DMF fund has been spent in the state, which is the highest in the entire country, he claimed.