Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, Feb 15:
Alarmed over the possibility of the apex court ordering a CBI probe into the whopping Rs 60,000 crore mining scam, the Odisha government which has been indicted by the Shah Commission for its complicity in the large scale illegalities is on an desperate drive to plug all holes in its ‘defence’ that it is committed to cleanse the mining sector.
This is evident from the Forest department’s instructions to the Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) on Friday to cover all the ore fines stocked in various mines with coir mats at the earliest.
It may be noted that the Shah Commission in its report- parts of which are already in the public domain- has pointed out that more than 120 million tonne of ore fines are lying in the open in the iron ore mines in Keonjhar and Sundargarh districts.
This, the report has said, constitutes a grave threat to water bodies because the uncovered fines stock would lead to massive water pollution. It is also a violation of the Water Act, the report has pointed out.
“All such unused/unsold fine stocks shall be covered with coir mats. OSPCB should take immediate action,” said a letter of Forest department to member secretary, OSPCB.
However, the state government is yet to make its stand clear on the disposal of the fines stocked in the mines.
The Shah Commission in its report has recommended auction of the unused and unsold fines stock.
It may be noted that the Supreme Court had ordered the e-auctioning of nearly 11.5 million tonnes of excavated iron ore lying unused in Goa under the supervision of a court-mandated committee.The e-auctioning would be conducted under the supervision of a three-member committee which will have former bureaucrats UB Singh and S Naiumuddin as members.
“The fine should be auctioned through electronic process. We had also plans to auction the ores. However, the process will be taken up only after the approval of Supreme Court monitored Central Empowered Committee to avoid any legal hassles,”said an official of steel and mines department.