Panel to hear few mining lease holders in Ahmedabad

Bhubaneswar: Mining lease holders on Thursday breathed a huge sigh of relief after Justice M B Shah agreed for an ‘extended hearing’ in Ahmedabad after their counsels pleaded they were unable to present cases due to constraint of time.

"Those who wanted to say more are called to come to Commission's headquarters at Ahmedabad," Chairman of the Commission Justice MB Shah told reporters here.

Meanwhile Shah has also hinted about existence of illegal mining in the state.

"Unless there is illegal mining, there is no inquiry," Shah said on the second day of hearing.

Noting that the Commission was giving full opportunities to mine owners to justify their activities, Justice Shah said all were being given a chance.

On day two of the hearing, twenty-one lease holders were to depose before the Commission, but the process could not be completed. Both the state government and the Federation of Indian Mineral Industries (FIMI) will depose before the Commission on Friday, sources said.

So far March 2 has been fixed as the last date of the hearing.

While 14 mining lease holders, who are in the dock for alleged illegal mining presented their arguments on Wednesday, the Commission has served notices to 186 mine leaseholders for hearing.

During yesterday’s hearing, as questions were raised on authenticity of the differential geographical positioning system (DGPS), the Commission agreed for a physical verification of the mining areas to be conducted by Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM).

Also it assured to hear again the lease holders regarding the alleged violation of Rule-37 of Mineral Concession Rules (MCR)-1960 in Ahmedabad on March 16.

Thriveni Earthmovers and 13 mining leaseholders presented their views before the Commission on Wednesday. The lease holders who argued their side include D R Patnaik Mines, Indrani Patnaik Mines, J S Alhuwalia Mines, Sirajuddin Mines, Essel Mining and Industries, Tata Steel and Odisha Mining Corporation.