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Pti

Bhubaneswar: With the Justice M B Shah Commission of Inquiry expressing concern over the pollution of river Baitarani because of mining, the Odisha government has asked the State Pollution Control Board to ensure covering of fines stocked near mines, official sources said.

"I am directed to say that Hon'ble Shah Commission in its 1st report has observed that more than 120 million tonne of fines is stocked in mines presently which is also a cause of water pollution," Director of Environment and Special Secretary in the Forest and Environment department said to the member secretary Odisha State Pollution Control Board.

The government has asked the OSPCB to cover up all unsold or unused fine stocks with coir mats and also furnish an action taken report, the director said in a letter to the OSPCB member secretary.

The Shah panel in its report had reportedly recommended revisiting the environment approvals granted to all 55 mines around the Baitarni river and its tributaries.

"Till then, mines may be kept closed," it said, suggesting the modification of the environmental approvals of the mines by an expert panel.

The Commission said a definite decision should be taken on whether to allow large-scale mining leases to operate in the catchment area of the river. About 40 firms and mining lease holders operate 55 mining leases that directly impact the Baitarni river.

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