Mining scam: Shah Commission to visit Odisha in Nov

Justice MB Shah Commission has ruled out any interim report on the mining scam in Odisha at this juncture.

Updated: Oct 11, 2012, 22:47 PM IST

Bhubaneswar: Ruling out any interim report on the mining scam in Odisha at this juncture, Justice MB Shah Commission on Thursday said it was likely to visit the state again during the first week of November.

"We are returning from Odisha tomorrow. So far we have examined at least 80 mining cases during the second phase of investigation," said UV Singh, the team leader of Shah Commission and Principal Conservator of Forest in Karnataka.

Singh and members of the team met Odisha government development commissioner and other senior officers here before winding up the second phase of investigation.

Asked about the possible interim report on the mining scam in the state, Singh said "We have not so far completed one aspect of the investigation of all the mines. Therefore, there is no point in giving any interim report now. Let us complete the process."

The commission which had sought records and documents of 186 iron ore and manganese mines in the state, during the second phase of investigation, has also raised certain questions on the mining activities within 10 km radius of the Similipal Biosphere, sources said.

Though at least eight iron ore mines were allowed to different companies for mining within 10 km radius of the Similipal Biosphere, only three were in operational stage, said director of mines of Odisha government Deepak Mohanty.

"The mining companies in the Similipal region have been asked to obtain requisite permission from the Central Wildlife Authority for continuing mining activities," Mohanty said. Meanwhile, Singh said that the commission was likely to undertake massive verification and examination as records of about 100 mines were pending. "We are taking xerox copies of records pertaining to certain complicated mines," Singh said.

Refusing to divulge the commission`s finding from the second phase investigation, Singh said the commission had been looking into different aspects like violation under forest, environment (air and water), wildlife, mines and other related laws.

The team which formally began second phase probe on October 4, was likely to conduct field visit to Koida mining circle in Sundergarh district in its next visit.

The central government appointed commission which had been probing into mining scam in different states, had for the first time visited Odisha in December last year.

Justice Shah, however, did not become part of the team this time.