Justice MB Shah Commission probing into illegal mining on Saturday asked the private mines owners to come out with a blue print for socio-economic development of the mineral rich Keonjhar and Sundargarh districts.
The Commission which heard on violation of Rule-37 of the Mineral Concession Rules, 1960 at its Ahmedabad office, expressed concern over poor infrastructure and living standard of the people in the two districts and asked if mining companies could make their contribution for the development in the mining areas under corporate social responsibility (CSR).
Senior counsel Gopal Subramanium representing Indrani Patnaik, Tata Steel, RP Sao and KJS Ahluwalia, assured the Commission that he will take personal interest in preparing a CSR blueprint.
The Commission sought the view of the State Government and Odisha Mining Corporation counsel U Lalit on the proposed CSR activities and asked Subramanium to submit the action plan by April 13 with special focus on hospital and health services, primary education, construction and maintenance or roads and drinking water supply.
“If you people look into the real development of these two districts and the poor people, I would recommend the Government of India to condone small and common irregularities that had taken place over years,” Justice Shah said.
Senior advocates appearing for private mines owners and raising contractors argued that their clients have not done any illegalities or violated any provisions under Rule-37 of MC Rule.
Lessees engaging contractors to raise minerals is a practice approved by the Government and the raising contractors were within ambit of the mining laws. Besides, the Centre has already made its point clear on the subject, they said.
The hearing of Rule-37 violation remained inconclusive with the Government and State run OMC not getting an opportunity to air their views.
The State Government and the OMC will place their views before the Commission on April 3 and if necessary on April 13, the next date of hearing, Director of Mines Deepak Mohanty told this paper from Ahmedabad.