Odisha govt to begin field survey of mines by March 16

Bhubaneswar: The state government, which was instructed by the Shah Commission to make field visit of certain mining areas of lessees who had questioned authenticity of differential global positioning system (DGPS) maps, will begin the exercise by March 16, according to an official.   

“Shah Commission has forwarded a 10-point methodology which will be implemented during the field visit starting March 16,” state Mines director Deepak Mohanty said.

To bring a common understanding among the surveyors, the state govt is planning for an orientation programme for district level supervising committee on March 14 to be conducted by principal secretary Steel and Mines, added Mohanty.

Justice MB Shah during his last visit to Odisha on March 4 had asked to constitute five separate teams of seven members for field visit of nearly 40 mines. The district level committee will assist these teams during field tour.

As per new methodology set by the Commission, the team engaged in visiting fields will verify the current boundary descriptions or reference points of the mining areas with the original lease map, which was given at the time of lease agreement.  Besides, a geo-referenced map will also be generated post-survey taking the DGPS reading of current mining possession areas of the lessees and the original map.

“The teams will also assess mining activities of the lessees within the lease area taking into account the approved land use plan, to ascertain any such violation. If such cases are found this will be taken as encroachment" Mohanty said.

The methodology also requires the teams to check mining operation in broken up area in forest and non-forest regions. “Any deviation in agreed mining activities, other than approved, will be reflected in the maps,” stated Mohanty.

However to avoid any future confrontation, the new guideline asks presence of lessees or their representatives during the survey and acknowledge a post-survey document.