Illegal mining: BJP submits memo to Prez, seeks CBI probe

Bhubaneswar: A two-member BJP delegation comprising of party's national vice president Jual Oram and senior leader Ashok Sahu on Saturday met President Pranab Mukherjee and submitted a memorandum demanding CBI probe into the alleged illegal mining in Odisha.
"As the tenure of the Saha Commission is ending, we sought the President's intervention into the probe of the Odisha illegal mining case and urged him to ask the govt for a CBI inquiry like other states," said Oram after returning from Rashtrapati Bhavan.
The BJP leaders also raised concern about the rising anger among tribals due to the mining activities in the state.
The memorandum stated, "We implore your Excellency to consider to immediately and effectively stop the national loot and cause investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation, so that the nation’s wealth is conserved, preserved and regulated as per laws duly legislated by the Parliament and the State Legislature."
The BJP leaders alleged that the state government had indulged in indiscriminate and wanton denudation of forests and exploitation of the mines in open violation of statutory provision to benefit private parties. This caused revenue loss of more than Rs 3.5 lakh crore to the public exchequer and destruction of the nation’s wealth.
The memorandum also added that 596 mines leases were granted to various private persons of which 341 mines are operating at present. Out of 341 operating mines, 126 are subsisting mines and 215 are working under ‘deemed extension’.
"These mining operations are beyond the time period permitted by the lease and also in excess of the areas earmarked for such mining in the forest areas, stated the memorandum, adding that the Central Empowered Committee appointed by the Supreme Court had also pointed out violation of law due to these mining operations.
The memorandum cited that the ruling party had been collecting illegal funds from the contractors by sub-letting the mines granted by lease in the name of OMC, which is in clear violation of Rule 37 of the MCR, 1960.
It also said that the Shah Commission, probing illegal mining activities, submitted an interim report concluding that there had been illegalities in mining operation in Odisha, among other states.