Patnaik Steel and Alloys, a subsidiary of Patnaik Minerals, the lease holder of Banachapani iron ore mine in Keonjhar district, has been found to have violated several forest and environment rules.
This is revealed from an enquiry conducted by the State Director of Mines into the issue.
“The matter has been enquired into by officers of Directorate of Mines and basing on their report and verification, the following irregularities have been noticed along with other violations,” the state steel and mines department said while asking the state revenue and environment ministry to initiate action against the miner.
Patnaik Steel and Alloys has acquired 55. 11 acres land in Keonjhar district for the purpose of steel production. However, out of the 55.11 acres, it did not convert 4.86 acres for non-agriculture purpose and also did not de-reserve forest area of 5.25 acres.
“In this regard orders of Chief Minister have been taken to take appropriate action by the concerned department, i e revenue and disaster management and forest and environment department. You are therefore, requested to take appropriate action against the violations and a compliance report may please be sent for submission of a report to Shah Commission of enquiry,” the steel department said.
The state government had directed an enquiry last year after receiving queries by M B Shah Commission which had referred to a complaint made by the president of Antrashtriya Manavadhikar Association, an NGO. It had filed a petition to the commission about violation of Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation (MMDR) Act, 1957 and Mineral Concession Rules (MCR)-1960 rules by the particular company.Following this, the Director of Mines had asked the Deputy Director of Mines, Joda circle to initiate a probe, in whose jurisdiction the Banchapani mine falls.However, the department of steel and mines did not mention any findings towards violation of Rule 37 of MCR. The rule 37 of MCR 1960 prohibits subletting of leased mines without government approval. The state government has already constituted a committee to look into the alleged violation of rule 37 by several miners.
The state mines department had last year stopped the operation of Banchapalli mines on allegations that the mine owner had encroached into the Orissa Mining Corporation (OMC) lease area and illegally raised mineral outside the lease boundary.