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The state steel & mines department is not in favour of a complete ban on export of iron ore to help curb illegal mining activities.
The M B Shah Commission of enquiry probing into large scale mining activities without lawful authority had recently sought the views of the state government on whether export of iron ore should be prohibited to control illegal mining.
“We are not in favour of a complete ban on iron ore export as it will not be in the interest of the state government as well as leaseholders. The department is of the opinion that a limit on exports can be fixed. But nothing has been decided yet and a final decision will be taken at the highest level,” said a source at steel & mines department.
The Shah panel which was on a visit to Odisha during October 3-11 for verification of records of all leases, had sought responses from the state government on different areas including a ban on iron ore export, shortly after winding up its state visit.
The other areas on which the panel wished to know the state government’s opinion include issues relating to capping of production from various mines, 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.
The probe panel during its last visit to the state had studied the records of 81 mines and it is visiting the state again tomorrow to check records of the balance leases and to take up field verification of undisclosed leases under Koira sector in Sundergarh district.
“The Shah commission is reaching Odisha on Wednesday. A six-member team led by U V Singh (additional principal conservator of forests, Karnataka government) will visit a few mines in Sundergarh district. The panel has not informed us on the mines they want to visit. The state government has provided all facts sought by the commission and we will be cooperating in its further probe,” said mines director Deepak Mohanty. The panel will verify records of 99 mining leases. The panel among other cases, is specifically keen on checking records of Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC), Odisha Minerals Development Corporation (OMDC) and Tata Steel.