BHUBANESWAR: The Supreme Court-appointed Central Empowered Committee (CEC), probing the illegal mining in the State, visited six mines, including Uliburu iron ore and manganese mines in Joda circle of Keonjhar district, on Sunday.
On its second field verification in the State, the four-member team, led by P V Jayakrishna, visited Kasia Mines of Essel Mining, Guali Mines of R P Sao, Rudkela Mines of S N Das Mohapatra and Rambahadur Thakur (RBT) and Nuagaon Mines of KJS Ahluwalia and Deojhar Mines of Tarini Minerals.
The team verified the records of Essel Mining relating to a land dispute and looked into allegations of illegal mining in forest areas by RBT and BK Mohanty’s Uliburu Mines.
The team asked the miners to present their depositions relating to the mining law violations, Mineral Concession Rules-37 (the rule that prohibits sub-leasing or sub-letting of lease in any form) and other issues before the CEC immediately.
“The CEC team has come here to make an on-the-spot verification of the status reports on mining leases submitted by the State Government to the committee in April,” Director of Mines Deepak Mohanty told reporters at Joda.
The CEC has undertaken an independent assessment of status of mining activities in the State following an order of the Supreme Court on March 21, 2014.
The apex court had directed the CEC to make a list of lessees who are operating without clearances under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 and renewal of mining lease. The committee has been asked to prepare the list of mines without any reference to the Justice M B Shah Commission’s report.
“It is the last visit of the team before submission of the final report to the Supreme Court by end of this month,” official sources said.
A three-member team of the CEC, led by Jayakrishna, had visited Thakurani Mines in Barbil circle of Keonjhar district in March to probe the nexus between Sarada Mines Limited and Jindal Steel and Power Limited (JSPL).
On arrival at Joda on Saturday, the team, comprising Mahendra Vyas, S K Pattnaik and M K Mutthu, held preliminary discussions with the revenue, forest and mining officials of Keonjhar and Sundargarh districts to gather specific information on some mining lessees.
Elected representatives of the area also met the members to present their views on mining sector.
The team is scheduled to visit several mines in Koira mining circle of Sundargarh district on Monday.