Bhubaneswar: Suspecting a linkage between rich mine owners and the UPA Government at the Centre, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Tuesday asked Congress MLAs to stop “shedding crocodile tears” over the welfare of the State.

Patnaik said this in the Assembly after the state cabinet resolved to move the Centre to levy mineral resources rent tax on iron ore at 50 per cent of the surplus rent.

The tax collected from mine owners should be spent for improving social and physical infrastructure, strengthen welfare measures besides improving the livelihood of people in the mining areas, Patnaik said .

Stating that he had been repeatedly demanding imposition of mineral resources rent tax on mine owners, Mr patnaik said, “My requests to the Centre to revise the royalty on minerals have also failed to evoke timely and appropriate response.”

Adding more Mr. Patnak said, Patnaik said that,”I cannot understand why the Central Government is not responding to the State’s demand. Does the Central Government have a soft corner for private mine owners?”

Patnaik said though he had written many letters to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh demanding imposition of mineral resource rent tax to help the state for welfare of people, it was not considered.

Without naming Congress MLAs, he said certain members of the House should stop “shedding crocodile tears” and go to their masters who rule from Delhi and demand imposition of this more justified tax for Odisha.

“It may be just possible that many honourable members of the opposition in this House do not get appointments from their bosses in the Central Government who are drowning in a sea of mega scams,” Patnaik said.