Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, July 9:
A team of the central empowered committee (CEC) is scheduled to arrive on a four-day visit to Odisha starting July 12 to conduct field verification of some iron ore and manganese mines accused of operating in violation of the mining laws.
“A four-member CEC team will visit the Joda and Koira mining areas on July 13 and 14 and will discuss with the state government officials on July 15,” said Deepak Mohanty, who was in New Delhi for the CEC deliberations on the updated status report on 187 mines submitted by the Odisha government during its last visit to the state.
The committee discussed with state government officials in New Delhi the report that includes the status on lease period, renewal of mining leases, consent to operate, mining plan, forest and environment plan as well as status of working and non-working mines.
Steel and mines secretary G Srinivas, mines director Deepak Mohanty and principal chief conservator of forests (PCCF) J D Sharma attended the meeting, which also focused on violation of Rule 37 of Mineral Concession Rules (MCR) -1960.
The pane,l during its visit in June, had asked the state government to complete the hearing process of miners, who have violated Rule-37 of Mineral Concession Rules (MCR)-1960 expeditiously.
Following this, the government had issued show cause notices to eight miners on statutory violations.
The eight mining lessees that have been found guilty of violating Rule-37 are Indrani Patnaik, KJS Ahluwalia, RP Sao, Sarada Mines, Aryan Mines (Koira), Mala Ray mines (Keonjhar), Kabita Agrawal (Koira) and Mideast Integrated Steel’s (Mesco) Barbil mines. Six of these eight lessees have already moved the revision authority under the Central mines ministry and secured orders barring the state steel & mines department from passing any order in their cases.
Rule 37 is a mining clause that bars companies from subleasing or transferring control without prior government permission. The committee also questioned mining contractor Thriveni Earthmovers’ MD B Pravakaran, whose company is raising minerals on behalf of several miners in violation of Rule 37 of the Act.