Rules violated to loot mines, says Opposition
The State Government on Monday drew flak from the Opposition parties in the Assembly over multi-crore mining scam with the Congress staging a walkout reiterating its demand for a CBI probe into it while the BJP alleged that the loot of minerals continued with the knowledge of bigwigs in the Government.
The issue cropped up during discussion on the admissibility of an adjournment motion notice with the Congress members alleging that the data from the differential global positioning system (DGPS) has proved that there was large-scale loot of minerals while the State Government was a silent spectator all through.
Mine owners extracted minerals in excess of what was permitted and this was proved by the DGPS data, Congress chief whip Prasad Harichandan said and wanted to know why there was no joint verification of the boundaries of different mines. Though the State Government was aware of it, why it had not taken any steps to check this, he asked and added that after direction from the M B Shah Commission, five committees have been constituted by the Government for resurvey.
“Has the Government agreed that the survey conducted by it was wrong,” Harichandan asked and alleged that the resurvey is only a ploy to buy time because of the ensuing elections next year.
Alleging that the mining loot was going on in connivance with the bigwigs in the Government, BJP Legislature Party leader K V Singhdeo asked how TP passes were issued by the officials for transport of excess extracted minerals without the mining owners filing new mining plans.
Had any mine owner ever submitted a fresh plan for extraction of excess ore, or any excess ore was confiscated anytime, Singhdeo asked and said all rules were violated for loot of minerals. Though for increase in production, a fresh environment impact assessment is required, this was never submitted, the BJP leader said and asked why no action had been taken.
Initiating the discussion, Naba Kishore Das (Cong) alleged that the GDPS data has exposed the lie of the State Government. Describing the mining scam in Odisha as the greatest corruption of the century, Das criticised the Government for acting on behalf of the mine owners instead of taking steps to stop the loot of minerals.
In his statement, Minister of State for Steel and Mines Rajani Kanta Singh alleged that the Shah Commission, during its recent visit, directed joint verification and demarcation of mines to determine the amount of excess ore extraction. The direction was given by the Commission following a petition from the mine owners questioning the authenticity of GDPS map, he said and added that steps have been initiated in this regard.