Mounting an attack on the BJD government in Orissa, the opposition Congress on Monday demanded a white paper on mining in the state.

“The people are confused over different data given by different bodies. While the State goverment claims that the government recommended names of 29 mines for prospecting licence, the Ministry of Mines lists at least 63 mines leased in the last nine years,” Leader of opposition Bhupinder Singh said during zero hour.

“The government must publish a white paper in the house, if it claims to be transparent.”

Congress members also wanted to know from the government on the direction of the Supreme Court’s Central Empowered Committee to it on illegal mining activities.

“People should know under what circumstances, the CEC issued such a directive,” Mr. Singh said.

Referring to recent statement by Union Forest and Environment minister Jairam Ramesh, Mr. Singh wanted to know how the state government allowed Vedanta to start mining at Niyamgiri hills without final environment clerance.

The state owned Orissa Mining Corporation (OMC) was also part of the illegal activities, Congress Chief Whip Prasad Harichandan alleged.

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