The State Government has geared up the official machinery ahead of the third, and perhaps last, visit of the Justice MB Shah Commission probing the issues of illegal mining. The State Government on Tuesday instructed concerned departments to provide relevant information to the commission during their 12-day stay.
Presiding over a high-level meeting at the Secretariat, Chief Secretary BK Patnaik asked the departments connected with mining activities to depute senior officers well versed on the subject to assist the commission whenever required. A six-member official team of the Commission headed UV Singh, Additional Chief Conservator of Forests in Karnataka, will arrive here on October 31 and will stay till November 11.
The team is scheduled to visit several mines in Koida region of Sundargarh district on November 1 and 2. After the field visit, the team will review records and files relating to mining, forest and environment as they did during their earlier visit to the State from October 3 to 11.
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.
During its last visit to the State, the team had verified records of 93 out of 192 mines. This time they will examine records of the remaining 99 mines.
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. The Commission detected large-scale violation of Forest and Environment Act during extraction of minerals by the mining companies.
The panel 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 had expressed displeasure over inaction by Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM) by allowing miners to extract ore beyond the approved mining plan.
The other members of the team include Conservator of Forests of Karnataka Biswajit Mishra, Chief Vigilance Officer Kolkata Saroj D Sarangi, Deputy Commissioner Industries and Mines Gujarat G Pandya and Senior Geologist of Geological Survey of India Gandhinangar Janardan Prasad.