Joint verification of mines by IBM, state officials soon

Last Updated: Sun, Nov 18, 2012 19:21 hrs

The joint field verification of mines, which are excavating beyond their leasehold area, by the officials of the Odisha government and Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM) is expected to start from November 21.

“The Shah commission had pointed out some cases of mining beyond leasehold area and has asked us to take up field verification of such leases. The field visit is set to start from November 21”, said a senior mining department official in the know of the matter.

Apart from mining department and IBM officials, officers from departments of forest & environment and revenue & disaster management will also conduct the field verification.

The state government has already constituted a committee headed by deputy director of mines to look into cases of mining outside lease area. Officials of revenue, forest and mining as well as the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) are members of the committee.

“In the Joda mining sector, there are cases of six lessees with boundary disputes. These cases cannot be termed as illegal mining until we verify the details”, a mining department official had said recently.The Shah Commission of enquiry that concluded its Odisha visit on Sunday, stated that it had taken serious note of mining beyond leasehold area and would examine the matter.

U V Singh, team leader of the panel said a report on alleged illegal mining activities in Odisha would be submitted in 2-3 phases depending on the volume of work and it will be a complete report. The panel verified the records of around 150 iron ore mining leases during its recent visit to the state.

Of late, the Shah Commission has sought a detailed response from the government on the impact of suspension of scores of mine leases on the state's economy.

Following the mines department's clampdown to curb irregularities in mining activities, only 129 of a total of 600 mining leases in the state are currently operational.

While 240 mines have been suspended on account of lack of statutory clearances, 140 others have been temporarily discontinued.

The panel had also reiterated some of its previously raised queries.

The panel had sought to know if the state government favoured a complete ban on iron ore exports to curb illegal mining and on areas like non-fulfillment of promises made to the iron ore based industries, CSR (corporate social responsibility) activities of miners at the site of mine leases and its periphery and restriction on lessees responsible for polluting local water sources.

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