Rs 60K cr lost to illegal mining in Odisha: Shah Commission

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New Delhi, Feb 10: Minerals worth about Rs 60,000 crore were illegally mined in Odisha during 2008-2011, Justice MB Shah Commission of Inquiry said in its report tabled in Parliament on Monday.

The first part of the government-appointed Commission's report, running in five volumes, said most of the mining activities in the mineral-rich state were carried out in disregard to rules, regulations and environmental norms.

"Value of the unlawful extraction of iron and manganese ore comes to Rs 59,200 crore.... Let the state government recover the said amount, by finalising the proceedings on the basis of the notices as early as possible," it said.

The recovered amount should be used for development of Keonjhar and Sundargarh districts of the state which are badly affected by illegal mining, the report tabled in the Rajya Sabha said.

"This at least can remove the poverty of tribals who are affected or whose lands are used for mining purpose," the report said, adding that mining operations led to displacement of tribals and forced them to stay in "pathetic and miserable conditions".

The Odisha government has already sent out 146 notices to leading iron and steel makers which were allegedly involved into illegal mining.

The Commission, set up to look into irregularities in the mining space between 2008 and 2011, said: "During this period, there was a collapse of government machinery" which "looked to be ineffective and helpless in front of mining mafia, persons in political life, mighty lesses and some corrupt officials".

"Since there is involvement of mighty lesses, big traders of state and outside state, political entities, officers at higher rank, it will not be possible by state police to find the facts and realities and there would be no justice done for quantum of illegalities took place," it said recommending a CBI probe into the issue.

PT

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