Odisha mining scam: `CEC member prepared wildlife conservation plan for leaseholders`

In a case of conflict of interest, one of the members of the visiting four-member Central Empowered Committee (CEC) team, which is investigating the multi-thousand crore mining scam in Odisha, had written the wildlife conservation plan for several leaseholders who are under probe.

Last Updated: Jul 16, 2014, 14:56 PM IST

Zee Kalinga/Satya Prakash Nayak

Bhubeneswar: In a case of conflict of interest, one of the members of the visiting four-member Central Empowered Committee (CEC) team, which is investigating the multi-thousand crore mining scam in Odisha, had written the wildlife conservation plan for several leaseholders who are under probe.

Documents with Zee Kalinga establish that Saroj Kumar Patnaik, former chief wildlife warden of Odisha, who is one of the members of the CEC, wrote the wildlife conservation plan for KJS Ahluwalia’s Nuagaon iron ore mines in 2004.
Interestingly, Patnaik visited KJS Ahluwalia’s mining area in Keonjhar district on July13 along with CEC chairperson PV Jaikishan and two other members. It was Saroj Patnaik who recommended in his plan that M/S Ahluwalia spend Rs 2.66 crore for wildlife management around the mining lease area.

Saroj Patnaik has made wildlife conservation plan for Sarada mines, which is lying closed due to cancellation of environment clearance and Mideast Integrated Steels Ltd`s Roida iron ore mines in Keonjhar district.

Patnaik prepared the wildlife conservation plan for Sarada mines when he was member of the State Wildlife Advisory Board and Member of Environment Committee of Thermal Power Plants for Orissa.
The CEC which is expected to submit its final report before the Supreme Court met the Chief Secretary of the state J K Mohapatra after returning from field visits. Patnaik was also part of the meeting.

(Satya Prakash Nayak is resident editor, Zee Kalinga)