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Question-answer hour for government

Bhubaneswar: The doubts raised over providing political patronage to mining mafia were not totally unfounded, admitted the government in its reply to the queries regarding irregularities found in the mining sector. The Justice M B Shah Commission which is on a week long visit to the state to probe mining related irregularities had asked several questions to the government. The government has meanwhile met all the queries of the commission.

To a question whether politicians, extremist organisations and influential persons had any role in illegal mining, the government has replied that mining mafia entered into the trade after the astronomical hike in the profits in mining sector and did not rule out the possibility of political entities providing patronage to the mafia. The government agreed with the commission that irregularities increased following hike in the demands of iron ore and manganese in the international market.

In its reply to the commission`s question whether the government had made an analysis of the causes for increase in irregularities, the government said that though illegal activities increased after the hike in demand of ores in the international market, the government could not contemplate steps top stem the rot. Pointing out the reason for not being able to contain illegal mining, the government said that there was no proper coordination between the Centre and the state. Besides, the government admitted that there was acute manpower shortage to check thefts and also no proper infrastructure like modern checkposts and IT regulated transport agencies.

The commission too had asked the government to provide its opinion about complete ban on export of minerals and its impact on the economy. The government said that while it would cause decline in mineral ore productions, it would help regulate the market in a much better way. That apart the government felt that due to the ban mineral ores would be easily available in the domestic market and boost development of the mines areas. The government instead has suggested that rtax should be imposed on the profits from  which would go a long way in the development of the mines areas.

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