Odisha Sun Times Bureau
New Delhi/Bhubaneswar, Apr 27:
The Supreme Court on Monday will conduct hearing on the PIL filed by an NGO, Commoncause, on the largescale illegal mining in Odisha and is likely to pass an interim order on whether there should be a temporary ban on mining activities in the state or not.
The Centrally Empowered Committee (CEC) of the apex court has, in the meantime, submitted a report on the state of affairs in the mining sector in Odisha, on the basis of the depositions made by the state government and the mining lessees in Delhi earlier this week.
The apex court had asked the CEC to submit a report on teh total number of leases granted for iron ore and manganese mining, status of these mines in terms of forest clearance, compliance to provisions under the MMDR Act as well as the nature and basis of deemed extension granted to lessees whose lease term awaits renewal.
In its deposition before the CEC, the high-level state government team, headed by the chief secretary JK Mohapatra, has stated that of the 56 working iron ore and manganese mines in the state, 16 have glitch-free lease rights and the rest 40 are operating on deemed extension of their leases.
The official website of the state Mines department says there are at least 130 working mines in the state including 28 in Joda circle, 26 in Koira, 10 in Rourkela, 18 in Sambalpur, 5 in Keonjhar and 24 in Talcher circle.
The site also informs that the state government has cancelled the lease rights of 237 lessees while imposing temporary ban on the working of 138 mines across the state.