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Odisha mining scam: Mines dept asks Forest dept to submit ATR on violations

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Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, July 16:

The Steel and Mines department today asked the Forest and Environment department to furnish the action taken report (ATR) on illegal mining in Odisha by July 18 so that it can submit a detailed report to the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) of the apex court within the stipulated time.

Mines Mining“We have asked the Forest department to submit a report on violation of environment and forest law by lease holders and action taken thereafter, by July 18. After getting the report, we will prepare a detailed report on mining activities to be submitted to the Supreme Court appointed committee by July 21,” Mines director Deepak Mohanty told media persons here.

A coordination meeting was held between the Mines, Forest departments and Odisha Pollution Control Board officials to prepare the report.

Ahead of the CEC hearing on July 22, the Odisha government would have a meeting with mine owners accused of violating statutory provisions on July 18.

The meeting would work out the ‘joint strategy’ to be adopted during the CEC hearing on July 23, sources said.

It may be noted here that the CEC inquiring into illegal mining in Odisha on Tuesday had asked the state government to provide relevant data on mineral extraction and other details on the mines lease holders accused of violating rules and regulations, which would be important inputs for the preparation of its final report.

The CEC team, during their field visit to mining areas, had found major discrepancies in data produced by the mines leaseholders and the state government with regard to lease area boundaries and volume of mineral extraction.

The team is expected to submit its status report to the Supreme Court by the end of this month to help the concerned Bench to take a final view on whether to order a temporary ban on mining in Odisha or not.