BHUBANESWAR: Justice M B Shah Commission has recommended a CBI probe into Aryan Mining and Trading Corporation violating the mining rules and transferring assets to a foreign company without the approval of the State Government.
The commission, in its second report on illegal mining of iron and manganese ores in Odisha, has rapped the State Government for not initiating any action against the lessee for violation of Rule 37 of Mining Concession Rules, 1960 and the foreign company for its attempt to sell off its mining assets in Odisha acquired illegally.
“It is recommended to hand over both the cases (Narayanposhi Iron and Manganese Mines and Mahalsukha Manganese Mines) to the CBI to find out if the grant of lease and subsequent renewals were regular and legal,” the report said.
Following allegation of large scale violation of Rule 37 of MCR, 1960, the State Government set up a committee to probe the matter.
A five-member committee visited Narayanposhi mines of AMTC on August 5, 2011 and came to know that the company is subsidiary of Stemcor Holdings, a UK-based company.
Aryan Mining and Trading Corporation is the lease holder of iron and manganese ore over an area of 349.254 hectares in Narayanposhi village and 399.838 hectares (340.332 hectares forest land in Mahulsukha/Koira villages for manganese ore) in Sundargarh district.
A member of the committee submitted a confidential letter (on August 22, 2011) to the Steel and Mines Secretary on the illegal acquisition of AMTC assets by the foreign company.
Rule 37 of MCR, 1960 prohibits the lessee to assign, sub-let, mortgage, or in any other manner, transfer the mining lease, or any right, title or interest therein to any other person or body without the permission of the Government.
“It appears that this mining lease has been acquired by Stemcor Holdings Ltd since 2007-08 in violation of Rule 37 of MCR, 1960,” the Commission report stated.
The majority of the leased area is forest land in both the leases. The diversion of forest land has been accorded in favour of AMTC as a user agency but by acquisition by the Stemcor Holdings, there is patently violation of the provisions of FC Act, 1980, the report observed.
“It is not possible to reconcile as to how the forest land was acquired by a foreign national,” the commission said. “Does the lessor (Odisha Government) know what is happening behind its back and if so, why action has not been initiated on a letter issued on 22 August, 2011 of Arun Kumar Verma, Chartered Accountant to Secretary, Steel and Mines Department, Odisha,” the panel report remarked.