Steps to control mining theft

Bhubaneswar: The government would soon fill up about 200 posts lying vacant in Keonjhar, Barbil and Koeda circles of several crucial departments to curb illegal activities in the mining sector. Chief secretary Bijaya Pattanaik today informed that the finance department has already given its approval for the creation of 197 additional posts under the mining department.

The Justice M B Shah Commission, appointed by the Centre to look into irregularities in the mining sector in several states including Odisha recently visited several mines in Keonjhar district. The Commission before winding up its tour discussed the issue with the higher officials of the government including the chief secretary and representatives of political parties along with people from different sections. The Commission on December 10 asked the state government to meet its queries on 12 different issues.

The Commission had sought details regarding the lease contracts and operations of defunct and in-operation mining companies, information regarding volume of excavated iron and manganese ores by companies operating in Joda and Koeda areas and group plans of the companies operating in Jajpur Road, Baripada and Keonjhar areas.

Meanwhile, the chief secretary Bijaya Pattanaik said that the government had already met all the queries of the Commission. The special Task Force constituted to look into the mining affairs would be meeting on January 5. The meeting would decide further steps to be taken to control illegal activities in the mining sector.