Orissa: Steel cos to be probed for iron ore source



Bhubaneswar: Two days after detection of illegal mining of iron ore by a private company in Sundergarh district, the Orissa government on Thursday said it would probe the steel manufactures as to from where they sourced the mineral.

"Steel and Mines Department will enquire about the sources of minerals (for companies), particularly iron ore being procured by the private steel making firms," Chief Secretary BK Patnaik said.

Patnaik said this after reviewing the status of introduction of e-pass for transaction of minerals from mines area to other places of the country.

The steel and mines officials would verify transit pass of steel companies, the chief secretary said, adding that steel and mines department had asked the director of mines to verify exports done by different firms though ports for 2010-11.

According to the police, 18,000 tonnes of iron ore was recently seized from Koira area of Sundergarh district and a senior official of a private company was arrested on the charges of illegal mining of iron ore.

The director of mines has been directed to engage CAG empanelled chartered accountants to verify the records of receipt of various ports, exports and supplying bills available with the customs authorities.

Besides, Steel and Mines Secretary Manoj Ahuja issued directions to the officials to conduct verification and audit of returns/ accounts filed by the traders and exporters, with the records being maintained in the government departments to ensure that ore is legally mined and properly accounted for.

"The department also issued instruction for checking of mineral carrying vehicles in check gates on inter-state border," Ahuja said, adding that there were four major unified checkgates at Girisola (Orissa-Andhra Pradesh border), Jamsola (Orissa-West Bengal border), Biramitrapur (Orissa-Jharkhand border) and at Murgabeda in Keonjhar district.

PTI