State to determine distance between sanctuaries and mine area

Bhubaneswar: Under pressure from both the Ministry of Environment and Forest and Justice M B Shah panel, Odisha government on Tuesday asked the Odisha Remote Sensing Application Centre (ORSAC) to determine the actual distance between the sanctuaries and the mining lease areas.
The issue was discussed at a high level meeting here presided over by Chief Secretary B K Patnaik.
While Justice M B Shah Commission of Inquiry had sought information from the state government about operation of certain mines close to national parks and sanctuaries, the MoEF wanted to know about the location of iron ore and manganese mines near eco-sensitive zones.
Asking officials to specify the sensitive zone for each sanctuary with proper verification of the actual situation, Patnaik directed Forest and Environment department to involve other departments in the process.
He asked the departments of Revenue, Housing and Urban Development and Steel and Mines Department to work together for the exercise.
Sources said the ORSAC has meanwhile completed DGPS (differential global positioning system) survey of 220 mining lease areas. This apart the Forest and Environment department has also completed GPS survey of all the sanctuary areas.
The major sanctuaries in Odisha include the Chilika bird sanctuary, Similipal National Park, Satkosia Tiger Reserve, wild life sanctuaries at Kothgarh Sunabedha, Debrigarh, Balukhand, Bhitarkanika, Badrama, Kuldiha wild life sanctuary, Baisiapalli, Kalarpat, Khalasuni, Hadgarh, Unshakothi, Chandka-Dampada, Nandankanan and Kapilash.