BHUBANESWAR: The M B Shah Commission, inquiring into illegal mining in Odisha, on Saturday asked mining companies to prepare a blueprint for development of Keonjhar and Sundargarh districts.
“The commission has asked the companies to prepare a comprehensive plan for development of Keonjhar and Sundargarh districts and submit it on April 3. The commission would take it up on April 13,” state director of mines Deepak Mohanty said after the commission held a fresh round of hearing at its headquarters in Ahmedabad.
Sources said the commission has asked the mining companies to take up development works in Keonjhar and Sundagarh, two of the most mineral-rich districts in the state, as part of their corporate social responsibility. “Let there be development in Odisha’s mine areas. The lessees need to come out with a detailed plan,” Justice Shah told journalists.
The commission’s hearings on violation of the contentious Rule-37 of Mineral Concession Rules, 1960, remained inconclusive with the state government not getting an opportunity to put forth its views. The government will give its views on April 3, the next date of hearing, source said.
Justice Shah, who had visited Odisha from February 27 to March 4, did not comment on the rule 37 issue. “There was discussion on the matter. But I cannot disclose anything at the moment since hearing is not yet complete,” he added.
The commission had invited the state government, state-owned Odisha Mining Corporation and mine lessees found guilty of contravening rule 37 for hearing in Ahmedabad.
Rule 37 has attracted controversy as it debars any lessee to assign, sub-let, mortgage or in any other manner transfer the mining lease or any right, title or interest therein without previous written consent of the state government. In Odisha, at least eight mining lessees – Indrani Patnaik, K J S Ahluwalia, R P Sao, Sarada Mines, Aryan Mines (Koira), Mala Ray Mines (Keonjhar), Kabita Agrawal (Koira) and Mideast Integrated Steel’s (Mesco) Barbil mines – have allegedly contravened Rule 37. The Union Central mines ministry has proposed amending the rule and sought comments from mineral bearing states.
(Times News Network, 17 March 2013)