Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, Jan 4:
The Odisha government has decided to bypass its own rules to favour Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL), which has sought diversion of forest land to develop coal blocks. The government has sought to justify the decision on the ground that coal production will be affected leading to serious disruption of power generation in the state in case completion of Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS) survey of entire coal blocks of MCL is insisted upon as a pre-condition for diversion of land.
While the steel and mines department has issued guidelines for survey of coal blocks to determine the areas allotted to companies, the government has decided to take it as a special case and allow forest diversion proposals of old and existing coal mines of MCL, a central PSU.
“Forest diversion proposals of old and existing coal mines of MCL shall be processed by Forest and Environment department without insisting on DGPS map of the entire coal block as a special case in the interest of uninterrupted coal production by the MCL,” said a senior official of the Forest department, who has asked the PCCF to take steps accordingly.
It is to be noted that the steel and mines department, in its fresh guidelines, had stated that the Odisha Remote Sensing Application Centre (ORSAC) will carry out survey of each coal block through DGPS and electronic total station (ETS) to determine the actual boundary, including preparation of cadastral-based geo-referenced maps of the coal blocks. The survey is supposed to be one of the guiding factors for grant of mining lease (ML) or prospecting licence (PL).
The Government direction came shortly after physical verification of boundaries of iron ore and manganese mines. The Government had ordered fresh boundary survey of iron ore mines following objections by almost all lessees who appeared before the Justice MB Shah Commission of inquiry to the DGPS map prepared by the Government for determination of boundary of mining areas.