More teeth for mining dept to curb illegal mining

Bhubaneswar: Intensifying its effort to clamp the illegal miners and streamline the mining activities, the state government has decided to set up district- level committees to rationalize the pricing of ore transportation.

In a high-level meeting chaired by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, it was decided that the mineral transporting agencies can not arbitrarily fix the prices of consignments. The state mining and steel department in congruity with the transport department will prepare price list which will be enforced in the districts. Besides, the lorries engaged in mining activities will be registered with mining and steel department as per their jurisdiction.

“We discussed about the catalysation of transport organization and how to stop it. We also discussed about the district level committee to see that prices are actually fixed. We are also seeing to look after the other transport organization like some planes and helicopters are coming to the area and how they are to be controlled,” DG (Vigilance) Anup Patnaik said.

However, the transporters have expressed dissatisfaction over government’s decision. The state government has taken this decision after holding discussions with the mines owners, the transporters alleged.

“There are various issues in the area like—the prices of fuel and tyre have gone up. This apart, the road condition in the mining areas is not good as a result of which the trucks are stranded for hours together. They should consider these issues also,” transporter Debaranjan Nayak said.

“The state government can fix price for state transporter as a result of which resentment would increase. When the outside vehicles would enter the state, they won’t be allowed and vice versa. These would give rise to protests,” transporter Bulu Mohapatra said.
Besides, the state government has entrusted the SPs with powers to seize illegally transported minerals. After reports of rampant illegal mining and mineral transportation, the state government has taken this decision to check the menace.

According to reports, over 6 lakh mt minerals were seized out of which 2 lakh mt ores have been auctioned. The rest are still lying at different places.

Earlier on April 23, the state government had decided to set up Project Management Unit (PMU) to curb illegal mining by maintaining centralized database of mining activities in the state.

As per the system, the mining areas have been divided into 14 circles which will be connected through state-wide area networking (SWAN). With this, data related to 125 mines operational in the area will be recorded online. Similarly, provision for distribution of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) cards has also been made earlier.