Three lessees charged with violation of Rule-37 of Mineral Concession Rules-1960 – Indrani Patnaik, KJS Ahluwalia and R P Sao- have filed petitions in the revision authority under Union ministry of mines, dealing a blow to the ongoing investigation by the state steel & mines department.
Indrani Patnaik has even got an interim order from the revision authority barring the state government from passing any final order in case of Rule-37 violation before the lessee’s revision application is disposed off by the authority. The state government, however, has been allowed to carry on hearing in the case, said a steel & mines department official.
The applications of the other two lessees - KJS Ahluwalia and R P Sao are yet to be admitted by the revision authority.
In addition to these three lessees, the steel & mines department had served showcause notices on five more mine owners - Sarada Mines (Barbil), Aryan Mines (Koira), Mala Ray mines (Keonjhar), Kabita Agrawal (Koira) and Mideast Integrated Steel (Mesco).
Rule-37 of Mineral Concession Rules debars any lessee to assign, sub-let, mortgage or in any other manner transfer the mining lease or any right, title or interest therein without previous written consent of the state government.
Recently, a glaring case of Rule-37 violation was noticed when Sarada Mines which holds the Thakurani iron ore mines spread over 947.04 hectares in Keonjhar district was found to be selling its entire run of mine (ROM) produce to Jindal Steel & Power Ltd (JSPL) without any agreement. According to an enquiry report of a five-member committee of steel & mines department headed by P C Patra, deputy director of mines (Bhubaneswar), the major benefit of the mine is flowing to JSPL. Moreover, the present arrangement of selling ROM to JSPL by Sarada Mines amounted to transferring the interest in the mining lease to the steel company as per provisions of Rule 37 of MCR-1960, the report adds. Earlier, Indrani Patnaik, KJS Ahluwalia and R P Sao were found guilty of forging illegal links with Thriveni Earhtmovers , a mine raising contractor active in the Joda area. Thriveni Earthmovers, had, however, trashed these allegations. “We are only the raising contractor for some lessees. Our company has nothing to do with their financial transactions or sales of ore by the miners,” B Prabhakaran, managing director, Thriveni Earthmovers had previously told Business Standard.