Shah panel makes field trip to iron ore leases

Last Updated: Wed, Oct 31, 2012 19:51 hrs

The Justice M B Shah commission of enquiry investigating into cases of multi-crore illegal mining left for field visits to the mining rich Keonjhar and Sundergarh districts soon after reaching Bhubaneswar on Wednesday.

“This is our third visit to the state. We will be visiting Sundergarh and Keonjhar for two days then we will come back and verify the files at Bhubaneswar,” said U V Singh, leader of the visiting probe team.

The team, which is visiting the state for the second time within a month, will stay here from October 31-November 11. The panel had skipped field verification of mine leases during its last visit from October 3 to 11. Earlier, Justice Shah himself had led the team on his probe trail to the state in December, 2011.

The Shah panel members had gone through the records of 83 mining leases during their last visit and are likely to examine the records of 99 more mines during the current trip.

“We are hopeful that the investigations will be completed this time. After the examinations of the files, we will submit the report and it will take some time,” Singh added.

The team led by U V Singh, additional principal conservator of forests, Karnataka government, consist of other members like Bishwajeet Mishra, conservator of forests (Karanataka), G T Pandya, deputy commissioner (industries & mines), Gujarat government, Janardan Prasad, senior geologist, Gujarat unit of Geological Survey of India and A V S Prasad, stenographer of the commission.

The panel is specifically keen on checking records of mining leases of Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC), Odisha Minerals Development Company (OMDC) and Tata Steel during the current visit.

In the case of OMC and OMDC, the team will verify records of all mines, contract agreements, procedure followed for contracts of sale, execution of work purchases and others. The panel, in the case of Tata steel, will verify total production in all mines, taxes paid, balance sheet, records of mining leases in Odisha and Jharkhand and details of the company’s steel plants, storage plants and others.

The commission has also sought specific details from all relevant departments. The mines department has been asked to make available all the files of the leases, first lease grant, notifications of subsequent renewals, transfer of lease (if any), copy of registered lease deeds of all mines, details of company’s directors, details of status of lease land of the leases and audit reports of the Accountant General.

The forest department has been asked to make available records regarding diversion of forest land, details of compensatory afforestation and details of payment of net present value (NPV).

Similarly, Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM) has been asked to keep available details of all returns filed from 2000, mining plan approvals of all leases, modifications issued for increased production of leases and production details of mines since 1995.

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