Orissa issue notices to illegal mine operators

Orissa issue notices to illegal mine operators

Bhubaneswar: Orissa has found two state-run public sector undertakings among 13 mine lessees indulging in illegal mining and have issued, an official said.

The government is processing a show-cause notice likely to be served against its own PSU Orissa Mining Corp. soon on the charge of violation of mining rules, the official said.

OMC, considered the highest revenue generating PSU for the state, was found indulging in illegal mining activities. Violation was detected in OMC’s two chromite mines and another mine owned by IDCOL, also a state run PSU.

Of the 13 mine lessees found in illegal mining activity during 2009 and 2010, two were state PSUs operating three separate chromite mines, the official said.

The others include Essel Mining & Industries Ltd, S.N. Das Mohpatra, Indrani Patnaik, Arjun Lada, M.S. Deb and Ram Bahadur Thakur (RBT).

OMC, which was allotted 502.457 hectares of chromite mines at South Kaliapani in Jajpur district, was found to have unauthorisedly encroached into another lease hold area.

The state’s steel and mines minister, Raghunath Mohanty, said, “The state government has been processing a show-cause notice aginst OMC on the charge of violation detected."

Similarly, OMC was also found violating mining rules at its Kaliapani, Ostopal and Gurjang chromite mines in Jajpur district.

IDCOL, which owns the Tilangi and Ostapal chromite mines, spread over 65.683 hectares in Jajpur district, was also found violating lease covenants.

While none of the private mine operators was available for comment, officials at the state-owned PSUs refused to acknowledge the development.

In the case of the private mine owners, the state government had already rejected the explanation furnished by RBT, which was allotted 192.63 hectares of land at Kolha, Rudukela and Katasahi in Keonjhar district for manganese mining, he said.

The government is also inquiring into whether M.S. Deb carried out illegal mining beyond the lease area. M.S. Deb was allotted a 115.739-hectare manganese mine in the Duduna and Baitarani area.

The government has completed hearing of a complaint against Arjun Lada’s iron and manganese mines, which cover over 326.50 hectares of land at Haromoto and Pacheri, in Keonjhar district.

In the case of Indrani Patnaik’s Unchabali iron ore mines in Keonjhar district, the state government has found gross violation of lease convenants in the clandestine sale of 3,04,568.170 mt of iron ore without maintaining proper records, as required under the law.

The cost of the illegal mining produce has been estimated at 1,131.72 crore.

The government has issued a notice to Patnaik to make good or remedy the breach of conditions and return the cost price of 1131.72 crore within 60 days.