The Justice M B Shah Commission of Inquiry, probing the illegal mining activities in States, will visit Odisha for 12 days from October 31 again.
The team, headed U V Singh, Additional Chief Conservator of Forests in Karnataka, will be in the State till November 11. The State Government has started preparations to facilitate the investigation into illegal mining in iron ore and manganese. Officials have been asked to render support to the investigating team and make available all the files for inspection.
Sources said the team will meet senior officials of the State Government from departments of Steel and Mines, Forest and Environment, Revenue and Disaster Management, Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) and Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM) on reaching Bhubaneswar. The team is also likely to make field visits to some mines in Koira mining circle in Sundargarh district on November 1 and 2.
After the field visits, they will inspect the files relating to the above departments as they did during their earlier visit to the State from October 3 to 11. An eight-member team from the Shah Commission had visited the State in December last year.During the visit, the Commission had taken serious note of illegal mining activities. Sources said the Commission has detected large-scale violation of Forest and Environment Act while extraction of mines by mining companies.
Earlier, the Commission had expressed concern over the extraction of iron ore by miners in excess of the approved mining plan in the Joda mining circle, urging the State to curb production so as to ensure that the mineral resource is preserved for future generations. The Commission is reported to have expressed displeasure over inaction by Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM) by allowing miners to extract ore beyond the approved mining plan.