Shah Commission probes ‘illegal’ mining in Orissa

Last Updated: Saturday, December 10, 2011 - 22:44

Keonjhar: The Centre-appointed
Shah Commission, led by former Supreme Court judge Justice M B
Shah, on Saturday visited at least five major mines in Orissa`s
mineral rich Keonjhar district.

Justice Shah, accompanied by commission members and state
government officials, began the third-day probe by visiting
Sunderlal Sarda and Mohanlal Sarda mines.

"We found storage of 128 million tonne of iron ore in the
mines spread over 947 hectare of land," said one of the
members of the commission adding that the company was entitled
to generate only 15 million tonne of iron ore per annum.

Justice Shah expressed displeasure over the lack of
enforcement of mining rules by Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM).

IBM was supposed to control and regulate the amount of
production in specific mines, they said adding that Justice
Shah also sought to know about the mines company`s MoU in
regards to transaction of iron ore with Jindal.

The commission members also took note of "certain
irregularities" at the Joda East iron ore mines of Tata Group.

"Though the lease period over 771 hectare mines of Tata had
expired since 2005, the commission sought to know from the
Mines department officials as to how the company was allowed
to operate the mines on deemed manner," a state government
official accompanying the commission team said.

The commission also came to know about operation of
Kashia Iron ore and Dolomite mines of Essel company "without
having" a permanent forest clearance. The mine was being
operated basing on a temporary forest clearance, they said
adding that while the company was using e-permit, it did not
have e-pass facility for transportation of minerals.

The Commission team also found storage of 147 million
tonne of mineral by mining operation over only 197 hectare
land.

The team also visited mines owned by Mesco and K M Ram.
However, commission`s proposed visit to Koira mining
circle in Sundergarh district was cancelled due to lack of
adequate time, sources said.

Protesting cancellation of the commission`s visit to
Koira mining circle, the CITU staged dharna on the National
Highway-215.

"We want the commission should also see large scale
illegal mining activities in Koira area," said CITU leader
Bishnu Mohanty adding that the commission should also take
note of the situation created due to suspension of a large
number of mines in the area.

The livelihood of lakhs of tribals was affected due to
closure of mines in both Sundergarh and Keonjhar districts.

Before concluding its visit, the commission was
scheduled to meet the NGOs, public, stake holders and others
at the collectorate in Keonjhar town from 9 am to 11 am
on Sunday.

The members of the Shah commission included U V Singh,
chief conservator of forest, Karnataka, G T Pancya, deputy
commissioner, industries and mines department, Gujarat, C M
Trivedi, deputy collector, Gujarat and Janardan Prasad, senior
geologist, GSI, Gujarat.

PTI



First Published: Saturday, December 10, 2011 - 22:44

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