Odisha to cancel DSPL applications: Minister

Bhubaneswar: Criticised from different quarters for not taking action against illegal mining activities by certain lessees, Odisha government has made it clear that it would cancel all mineral concession applications of Deepak Steel and Power Limited (DSPL).
 
"The state government has decided to cancel all pending mineral concession applications of Gupta's company. The state will not tolerate any person who is involved in criminal activities," Steel and Mines minister Rajanikant Singh told reporters.
 
Action will be taken against those involved in the Uliburu mining scam, which is under investigation by the State Vigilance, Singh said.
 
Deepak Gupta, managing director of DSPL, has been arrested and presently being interrogated by the vigilance sleuths for his alleged act of illegal mining after obtaining power of attorney from B K Mohanty to operate his iron ore mines at Uliburu mines in Keonjhar district.
 
Gupta, the minister said, had nine pending applications seeking iron ore deposits in the state. Of these nine applications, the former Director of Mines had recommended the Khandabandh iron ore reserve in the Barbil region of Keonjhar district in 2006 in favour of the company since the beneficiary had an end-use sponge iron plant in Sundargarh district.
 
Gupta had been accused of excavating huge amount of iron ores from forest areas by shifting the boundary pillars to nearby Uliburu reserve forest.
 
He allegedly lifted 47 lakh tonne of iron ore illegally by violating forest laws, the vigilance sources said, adding that his activities has caused a loss of about Rs 840 crore to the state exchequer.
 
After illegal mining activities came to the fore, Gupta absconded for nearly a month before he was arrested on September 4.
 
Gupta's bail application would be heard by the special vigilance court at Keonjhar on September 11. Presently, he was in remand of the state police's vigilance wing.