Odisha has opposed many recommendations of Shah panel

The UPA government at the Centre has kept mum on the need for a CBI inquiry into the Rs. 59,000-crore illegal iron and manganese mining scam in Odisha and the State government has said there is no need for one. Their responses came in the government’s Memorandum of Action taken on the Shah Commission report which had recommended the CBI inquiry.

The Memorandum was put before the Parliament on Monday along with the Shah Commission Report on Odisha mining.

The Shah Commission had noted that the scam was done systematically over years with complicity of miners, officials and politicians. In light of the rampant violation of law by powerful connected people, it recommended a CBI inquiry and said it did not trust the State authorities to carry out the probe properly.

The views of the Centre and State came out on the same day when the Supreme Court listed Prashant Bhushan’s application asking for a CBI inquiry in the matter for March 3.

The Odisha government has opposed many recommendations of the Shah Commission report contending that all existing mines were operating with the necessary mandatory clearances. The commission had listed more than 80 per cent of the mines operating illegally, including those without requisite clearances.

On key recommendations of the Shah Commission report to reform the way mines are operated and given off to a cabal of miners too, the Union government has ducked giving a straight answer. It said the mining rules already take care of the welfare of tribal people and all other reforms that it is agreeable to will come through only with the passage of the Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation Bill 2011, which is unlikely to pass in this last Parliament session.

‘The Bill also does not address the issue of super-profits being earned by the miners as raised by the Shah Commission report. On the need to e-auction of extracted ore, the Centre has said it will consult States and other Ministries.