The State Government on Monday decided to design a comprehensive policy for renewal of mining lease. Presiding over the state-level task force meeting here, Chief Secretary BK Patnaik asked the Steel and Mines Department to find out the policy issues within a fortnight so that a draft policy can be framed by month-end.
The task force meeting on the eve of the visit of Justice MB Saha Commission to the State assumed significance because the judicial panel probing illegal mining had detected serious irregularities in Odisha during its 2011 December visit.
The Commission had focussed on environmental aspects and mining plan violations and enquired about the production capacities and violation of Section 37 of the Mineral Concession Rules.
The meeting was informed that the differential global positioning system (DGPS) survey of the boundary areas along with super imposition of three layers of maps of each lease has been completed in 145 cases out of a total of 186 cases listed.
The verification reports along with maps have been submitted to the Commission.
Work has been expedited in 29 out of the balance 41 cases which is expected to be finished by month-end. Other 11 lessees have not applied for DGPS survey. The respective Deputy Directors of Mines have been instructed to make field verification of ground situation and submit proposal for further action, official sources said. Emphasising on enforcement to regulate transportation of ores through railways and ports, the meeting resolved to have zero tolerance of mining beyond the leased area.
The Chief Secretary directed the district collectors of mineral-bearing districts to constitute more enforcement squads at district-level and ensure that these squads actually operate at field level to detect the mining activity outside the limits of leased area. He also asked them to maintain strict vigil over the operating mines with regard to their compliance to various legal requirements.
The Sate Enforcement Squads have conducted 65 raids between May and August, seized 71,790 MT of iron and chrome ores and have realised of over ` 13.65 lakh towards compounding fees and penalty.
This apart, police have registered 86 theft cases and arrested 207 persons at district levels up to September and seized 1,016 MT of different minerals.
The Chief Secretary also directed the district-level squads to make proper inquiry of detected cases and launch prosecution of eligible cases instead of simply compounding of fines.