Shah panel submits report on illegal mining in Odisha to Centre

Bhubaneswar: The much-awaited Shah Commission report, which is likely to trigger a political storm in Odisha, has been finally submitted. Justice M. B. Shah Commission of Inquiry, probing illegal mining of iron ore and manganese in Odisha, has submitted Part-I of its report to the Government of India on Monday. According to reliable sources, the Part-I report has got five volumes running into more than 1500 pages. It’s learnt from sources that the Commission has found several instances of illegal mining in Odisha, but details are still awaited as the report has been kept under tight wraps.
 
Justice MB Shah along with his team members visited Odisha several times. The final visit of Justice Shah to Odisha in connection of the probe took place in February 2013 after the state government and the mine leaseholders pleaded before the Commission in Ahmedabad to give them a chance to put forward their views.
 
The Government of India has set up Justice M. B. Shah Commission of Inquiry for illegal mining of iron ore and manganese on 22nd November, 2010. The Shah Commission has been setup with following terms of reference:
 
i. To inquire into and determine the nature and extent of mining and trade and transportation, done illegally or without lawful authority, of iron ore and manganese ore, and the losses resulting there from; and to identify, as far as possible, the persons, firms, companies and others that are engaged in such mining, trade and transportation of iron ore and manganese ore, done illegally or without lawful authority;
 
ii. To inquire into and determine the extent to which the management, regulatory and monitoring systems have failed to deter, prevent, detect and punish offences relating to mining, storage, transportation, trade and export of such ore, done illegally or without lawful authority, and the persons responsible for the same;
 
iii. To inquire into the tampering of official records, including records relating to land and boundaries, to facilitate illegal mining and to identify, as far as possible, the persons responsible for such tampering; and
 
iv. To inquire into the overall impact of such mining, trade, transportation and export, done illegally or without lawful authority, in terms of destruction of forest wealth, damage to the environment, prejudice to livelihood and other rights of tribal people, forest dwellers and other persons in the mined areas, and the financial losses caused to the Central and State Governments.
 
The Commission has also been empowered to recommend remedial measures to prevent such mining, trade, transportation and export done illegally or without lawful authority, and to this purpose the Commission may, if it deems fit, submit interim reports to the Central Government on any of the matters specified in the notification and shall also recommend specific steps that may be required to be taken to urgently curb the menace of such illegal mining, trade and transportation.