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Orissa cooperates Shah commission on illegal mining

Bhubaneswar: Orissa government on Thursday said it had been cooperating Justice M B Shah Commission of Enquiry set up by Centre to probe into mining irregularities in different states.

"We have replied to several queries of the commission in the past and the final bunch of replies will be submitted by end of September," steel and mines minister Raghunath Mohanty told reporters while rejecting allegation that the state government was not cooperating with the commission.

Stating that the commission had been informed about the volume of iron ore production and quantity of export undertaken during 2010-11, Mohanty said the state government also apprised it (commission) about the action taken to check illegal mining activities in the state.

"The state government has been preparing documents showing violation of mining related laws and rules," Mohanty informed adding that the state government had cancelled mining lease of four mines holders on charge of violation.

The state government will welcome the commission and its members if it decides to visit certain mines area in the state, Mohanty said adding that a host of steps were taken for checking illegal mining activities here.

Besides conducting vigilance probe into the alleged violation and mineral theft cases, the state government was taking all out efforts to streamline transportation, excavation of mines and other aspects.

The first inter-state coordination meeting between Orissa and Jharkhand under the chairmanship of the state home secretary was scheduled to be held at Barbil in Keonjhar district on Saturday, Mohanty informed adding that focus of the meeting was to check illegal transportation of minerals in the border areas of the two states.

Earlier, the Orissa chief minister Naveen Patnaik had written a letter to his Jharkhand counterpart seeking formation of a joint committee to check illegal transportation of minerals, said steel and mines secretary Manoj Ahuja.

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