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Orissa tightens mining norms

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Panel to fix extraction quota.

Barely a month and half after the Supreme Court banned iron ore mining in Bellary region of Karnataka on environmental grounds, the Orissa government has pulled its socks to regulate the mineral exploitation business in the state citing similar concerns.

“It has come to the notice of the state government that on account of increased production and transportation of iron ore from the mines, specially in Joda and Koira areas, the environment and population of the area are being affected. It is necessary to develop a master plan for the areas to ensure that cumulative effect of the extraction from individual mines is within sustainable limits,” a state government notification said.

The government has created a committee comprising 18 members, who will recommend the maximum quantity of iron ore and manganese ore that should be extracted from Joda and Koira areas, it said.

The committee will be headed by the chief secretary, Orissa government while, principal secretaries of the departments of forest and environment and commerce and transport, director of mines, director of environment, secretary of state pollution control board, commissioner-cum secretary of steel and mines, secretary of works, special secretary of rail coordination and state chief engineer for national highway will be the members.

General Manager of East Coast and South Eastern railways, chairman of Paradip port and regional controller of Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM) will be also on the panel. Besides the 14 specified members, the committee may invite two mining lessees and two end users to attend the meetings, the notification said.

The stern action from the state government follows a mining probe panel report last week which revealed 104 miners have produced iron ore, manganese ore and limestone in excess of IBM stipulated amount during last 10 years. The state government has also sought Centre's intervention to punish these errant miners.

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