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Odisha mining scam: CEC team arrives for field verification

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, July 12:

A four member team of the central empowered committee (CEC) arrived here on a four-day visit to Odisha this morning to conduct field verification of some iron ore and manganese mines charged with operating in violation of the mining laws.

Three members of the team PV Jayakrishna, MK Muthu and Mahindra Vyas, who arrived from Delhi, will be joined by the other member of the team SK Patnaik here.

The team led by PV Jayakrishna will visit Joda and Koida sectors for fact finding and verifying allegations pertaining to violation of Rule 37, which has been widely discussed by CEC and Shah Commission.

Before leaving for Barbil later in the day, the CEC team will hold a meeting with senior officials here.

The team will visit 11 mines, said sources.

According to the sources, the team will visit the Joda and Koira mining areas on July 13 and 14 in the presence of state government officials and mining lease holders after which it will hold discussions with state government officials in Bhubaneswar on July 15.

The CEC had discussed with state government officials in New Delhi on July 9 the report that includes the status of the iron ore and manganese mines – their  lease period, renewal of mining leases, consent to operate, mining plan, forest and environment plan- as well as the status of both working and non-working mines.

The panel 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 had 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.