The panel was set up following objections from lease holders to DGPS

Justice M. B. Commission, investigating into the mega mining scam in the State, on Friday set up a seven member committee for physical verification of the boundaries of mines where illegal mining had allegedly taken place in the past.

“The committee will comprise seven members including a representative from the Commission,” Justice Shah told presspersons on the third day of the Commission’s hearing here.

Among others, the committee would have members from the State government, Indian Bureau of Mines and a representative of the mining lease holder whose area of mining operation was to be verified.

The Commission has been hearing views of mining lease holders for the past three days and eminent lawyers from New Delhi and other places have been appearing before the Commission on behalf of the lease holders to clarify their stand on the alleged illegal mining.

The Commission announced formation of the committee following objections from lease holders to the differential geographical positioning system (DGPS) for boundary demarcation alleging that the State Government had used Google maps for surveys, which they claimed were not accurate.

The Commission has allowed physical verification of mining operations of as many as 24 mining lease holders.

Justice Shah had on Thursday indicated that illegal mining had taken place in the State. “Unless there is illegal mining, there is no inquiry,” he had said.

The Commission had come to the State to conduct the ongoing hearing after a large number of mining lease holders requested it to give them a hearing before finalising its report on illegal mining in the State. Justice Shah’s observation about illegal mining in the State has created panic among the State administration and hundreds of mining lease holders.

The Commission, which had earlier submitted an interim report to the Central Government, was likely to submit its final report later this year.

The issue of illegal mining has been dominating the State politics since 2009 with the opposition parties blaming the Naveen Patnaik Government for the alleged loot of iron ore and manganese in the State and demanding a CBI probe into the matter.

Several public interest petitions have also been filed in the High Court seeking CBI probe into the mining scam. But the High Court was yet to pronounce its judgment although hearing on the petitions had been completed in April 2011.

  • Justice Shah’s observation makes administration and mining lease holders panicky

  • The Commission is likely to submit its final report later this year