Justice M B Shah Commission to visit Odisha

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Bhubaneswar: The Justice M B Shah Commission is slated to visit Odisha for the third time to complete investigation into the alleged mining scam in the state.

The team led by U V Singh, Principal Conservator of Forests in Karnataka, will arrive here on October 31 and stay till November 11, official sources said on Sunday.

"The six-member team is also likely to make field visit to Koira mining belt in Sundergarh district during its visit," a senior official said.

Earlier this month, a six-member team of the panel had visited the state from October 3 to 11 and scrutinised records of 81 mining leases out of a total of 186.

The Justice M B Shah Commission, appointed by the central government in November 2010, has been investigating allegations of illegal mining in several mineral rich states, including Odisha.

The commission had first visited the state, including some mining areas, in December, 2011.

While winding up the second phase of investigation, team leader U V Singh had ruled out an interim report as the process was still incomplete.

So far, the commission has examined 80 mining cases during the second phase of the probe. .

The commission, which had sought records and documents of 186 iron ore and manganese mines in the state during the second phase of investigation, had also raised certain questions on mining within a 10 km radius of the Similipal Biosphere, the sources said.

Though at least eight iron ore mines were allotted to different companies for mining within a 10 km radius of the Similipal Biosphere, only three were in the operational stage, a senior official said.

"The commission is likely to verify and examine records of about 100 mines," another official said, adding, the team had taken photo copies of records pertaining to certain mines for scrutiny.

The commission has been looking into violation of forest, environment (air and water), wildlife, mines and other related laws.

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