State govt says no illegal mining beyond leased area

Bhubaneswar: Odisha government on Tuesday claimed that there had been no systematic mining activities outside the leased area as alleged by some petitioners before the Justice M B Shah Commission of Inquiry.
"A joint verification by the state level enforcement squad and officials of forest and mines department found certain old pits beyond mining lease area in Keonjhar district. But, there has been no regular mining in those pits," Director of Mines Deepak Mohanty said on Tuesday.
Stating that the state government would submit its report to the Shah panel this week, Mohanty said that the old pits were certainly used locally for extracting minerals. But those were long time back and not for mining purpose, he said.
Earlier, the state government was asked by the Justice Shah panel to verify and report on the alleged massive illegal mining beyond leased areas.
Senior Congress leader S R Patnaik in a petition to the commission had alleged that while the commission was inquiring into illegal mining in leased areas, there had been no monitoring on illegal activities beyond the leased area.
Taking Patnaik's petition into consideration, the Shah panel had suggested the state government to ensure identification of mines which had been operating from outside the leased area.