Odisha govt takes control of Uliburu mines

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government has finally taken over the Uliburu mines in Keonjhar district after reports and subsequent inquiry from the State mines department confirmed large scale mining irregularities in the leased area.
 
On June 25, OTV had exposed the mining loot in Uliburu mines under Joda circle stating that mining was done beyond the leased area causing Rs 1800 crore loss to the State exchequer.
 
Steel and Mines Minister Rajanikant Singh said, “The Uliburu iron mines which was leased out to B K Mohanty has been brought under the control of State Government following allegation of illegal mining beyond leased area. Two inspectors of mines, who were on duty at that time, have been suspended for dereliction in duty.”
 
“More than 3 lakh tonnes of iron ore lying at the Uliburu mines since 2009 as fines have been handed over to Odisha Mining Corporation Ltd (OMC) for auction.” Singh added.
 
Investigations had revealed that 46,19,633 MT of iron ore worth Rs 856.93 crore was extracted from BK Mohanty Mines between 2000 and 2010. However, taking into consideration iron ore shipping challans, royalty and freight charges paid to the Government, the scam was pegged at Rs 1800 crore.
 
It was alleged that Deepak Gupta, who holds power of attorney of Uliburu Mines originally leased out to Mohanty, unlawfully extracted iron ore outside lease area – in 6 hectare Reserve Forest and 29 hectare revenue forest which is in possession of the Revenue department.
 
Though Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik ordered a vigilance probe into the Uniburu mining scam on June 29, the Congress which has been demanding a CBI inquiry ever since the mining scam surfaced in the State, reiterated the demand in the recent case.