Shah Commission reschedules State visit to Feb 27

Bhubaneswar: Justice M B Shah Commission, probing illegal mining activities in different states, rescheduled its visit to Odisha and would do so from February 27, official sources said on Tuesday.
 
"This time, the commission will spend three days in Odisha from February 27 to March 1. Justice M B Shah will head the visiting team," said director of mines Deepak Mohanty.
 
Though the commission was earlier scheduled to visit the state on February 22, it deferred the tour by about one week at the request of the state government, sources said, adding, the tour is scheduled to end on March 1.
 
Besides hearing the state government's views on the alleged illegal mining activities, the panel would hear views of mine owners, sources said, adding, the final report on alleged illegal mining is likely to be submitted after this three-day crucial tour.
 
Mohanty said the commission this time has no programme of field visit.Earlier, it had visited certain mines at Koida and Joda mining circles in the state.
 
The Commission, which had last year said its probe in Odisha was nearing completion, later decided to visit the state again after mines owners sought a hearing of their views on the issue. 
 
Several mines owners had approached the commission to give them a hearing before finalisation of the report.
 
East Zone Miners' Association and Federation of Indian Mineral Industries had expressed fear that the Commission's report would be one-sided as their views had not been taken into consideration.
 
During its previous three visits to the state, the commission had verified environmental and forest clearances of 145 iron ore and manganese mines. It also checked whether the mines owners undertook mining activities beyond their lease areas.
 
Commission's team headed by Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, Karnataka, U V Singh had visited Odisha twice in October and November last year.
 
Apart from inspecting certain iron ore and manganese mines, it verified documents of about 145 mines.
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