Shah comm asks Orissa to regulate ore exploration

Bhubaneswar: The Centre-appointed Shah Commission led by former Supreme Court judge Justice M B Shah on Monday directed the Orissa government to "limit" exploration of iron ore, observing that natural resources should not be finished at one go.

The commission, which is probing reports of illegal mining in the state holding discussions with state officials led by Chief Secretary BK Patnaik during its three-day visit to different mines in Keonjhar district.

Expressing displeasure over Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM) decision of allowing excavation of excess mineral at different mines, Shah said "the state is rich in iron ore. This mineral is required to be conserved and preserved for the future generation also."

Chief Secretary Patnaik said the commission asked the state government to regulate excavation of iron ore in certain mining circles and undertake peripheral development works.

Asking the government to take precautions before renewing lease period of certain mines, the commission also sought to know from IBM officials why it allowed certain mines to excavate excess minerals, Patnaik said.

On the occasion, the state government informed the commission about steps taken by it to curb illegal mining activities in Keonjhar and other places in the state, besides drawing its attention to the Centre's delay in revising the mineral royalty.