Shah panel to hear lease holders again on Rule-37

Bhubaneswar: Justice M B Shah Commission of Inquiry probing illegal mining of iron ore and manganese in Odisha on Wednesday agreed to hear again the mine lease holders regarding the alleged violation of Rule-37 of Mineral Concession Rules (MCR)-1960 in Ahmedabad on March 16.

During first day of the Commission’s hearing, some lease holders pleaded before the panel to put forward their views, and give them a chance, upon which it agreed for the same in Ahmedabad on March 16.

According to sources, the lease holders reportedly questioned the authenticity of the differential geographical positioning system (DGPS) which is based on figures of the base map prepared manually way back in the 1960s.

The seven-member probe panel, after being requested by the lease holders for a physical visit to verify boundaries of the mines, agreed to it.

“The Commission has said two things, one is that there will be a physical verification of the areas on the basis of lease deed and secondly, Rule 37 whether you can have a raising contractor or not that interpretation will be gone into on March 16 in Ahmedabad,” AB Diwan, lawyer of Sirajuddin Mines said.

Thriveni Earthmovers and 13 mining leaseholders, who are in the dock for alleged illegal mining, are scheduled to present their views before the Commission today. The lease holders who would argue 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.

Sources said the Commission will hold two sessions of hearing daily till March 2.

Around 186 mine leaseholders have been served notices by the Commission.