Illegal mining keeps getting bigger with Rs 1800cr scam
Bhubaneswar: Even as Justice MB Shah Commission has concluded hearing on illegal mining in Odisha and is most likely to submit its final report in July, another similar scam worth over Rs 1800 crore has surfaced, hinting at a much larger sphere of the illegal activities.
Investigations have revealed that 46,19,633 MT of iron ore worth Rs 856.93 crore was extracted from Sri BK Mohanty Mines of Uliburu Iron Ore in Joda circle of Keonjhar district between 2000 and 2010. Regarding this, the Odisha Government in November last had sent a letter to the company citing excess mining in the lease area.
The Deputy director of Mines, Joda circle in 2012 had written a letter to the aforesaid lessee asking for an explanation on the extraction outside the lease area indicating that he had despatched ores worth Rs 1776 crore basing on the sale value of Odisha Mining Corporation.
However, taking into consideration iron ore shipping challans, royalty and freight charges paid to the Government, it is estimated that the scam could be worth over Rs 1800 crore.
More shockingly investigations have further revealed that the excess mining, as cited by the Odisha Government has not been conducted inside the lease area of the lessee.
A report of a joint verification, carried out in village Uliburu and inside Uliburu Reserve Forest by Sri BK Mohanty Mines, Revenue, and Mining and Forest officials says, “The Reserve pillars (of BK Mohanty Mines) have been shifted and mining carried out even inside the Uliburu Reserve Forest illegally”.
It further says, “Mining activities have completely been done outside the lease area of Sri BK Mohanty”.
“It was also ascertained that no mining operation has been carried out within the lease area of Sri BK Mohanty but only staff quarters have been constructed within the said lease area,” the report noted.
When enquired about the matter, steel and mines minister Rajani Kanta Singh said two cases have already been registered against the lessee in this regard.