Bhubaneswar: Raising question on Orissa government`s "sincerity" in taking action against those involved in illegal mining activities, Opposition Congress and BJP on Monday walked out of the assembly even as steel and mines minister rejected demand for a CBI probe into the multi-crore mining scam.
"The state government has no sincerity to catch real culprits involved in illegal mining. They (govt) only caught petty players while big mines operators are allowed to go scot free," said BJP legislature party leader K V Singhdeo while walking out of the house in protest.
The Congress members also followed suit accusing the state government of attempting to "protect" the real culprits by not handing over the case to CBI.
Steel and Mines Minister Raghunath Mohanty, however, claimed that the state government`s efforts to stop illegal transportation of minerals though rail had come down substantially. "Other states have been benefited by Orissa`s reform in the rail transportation of minerals," he claimed.
Stating that the state government had detected 420 cases of illegal mining incidents and collected Rs 13.82 crore as penalty besides seizing minerals worth Rs 21.95 crore in 2010-11 fiscal, Mohanty claimed that mining works in 264 mines were suspended on charge of either being engaged in illegal mining activities or operating without proper permission.
"The state government have suspended licenses of 70 license holders and rejected license of 594 others," the minister said adding that the government was "sincere and committed" to punish all the persons involved in the illegal mining activities.