A six-member team of Justice M B Shah Commission reached here on Wednesday to probe the alleged irregularities in the mining sector in the State.
The team, under the chairmanship of U V Singh, will go into the large-scale illegal mining of iron ore and manganese in several States, including Odisha.
“We will verify documents of several departments first. If needed, we will visit some mining sites,” Singh told mediapersons at the airport.
Meanwhile, the State Government has asked the secretaries of departments concerned to ensure that all relevant records and files are made available.
Earlier, the commission had sought relevant information from six departments, including Steel and Mines, Forest and Environment, Revenue and Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) on several issues pertaining to mines and running mines, leased out mines and the lessees.
Sources said about 192 mines of the State have been listed by the panel for probe. All the secretaries have been asked to present the documents, including lease (old and present), copy of all registered lease deeds, land particulars, forest clearances, pollution clearances and other allied requirements on land, forest and mining. The team may make field visits also.
An eight-member team of the commission visited the State in December last year. The commission reportedly stated that the steps taken by the State Government for curbing illegal mining were adequate.
The Government had apprised the panel about the measures to curb illegal mining and had suspended work in 246 mines. Steps taken by the State Government to stop illegal mining included streamlining of transportation of ores through rails and roads, export of raw materials through ports, integrated online system, digitisation of check gates and introduction of electronic weighing machines for lessees.
Sources said the commission would go through the details of i3MS implemented by the State Government to bring transparency in the mining sector. The i3MS, the online data verification and permit generation software for mineral transports, will be connected with six different ports through which minerals are exported from Odisha.
The six ports in the country, including Paradip, Dhamra, Haldia, Kakinada, Visakhapatnam and Gangavaram would have to share data with the State Government on export of minerals from Odisha through i3MS, which became effective from June 1.