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Monday, June 09, 2014  
Justice M B Shah acknowledges bureaucracy link in Odisha mining scam
"while briefing the media after a public hearing in Bhubaneswar, Justice M B Shah - the leader of the Commission that is probing into the alleged illegal mining scam in Odisha - confirmed the involvement of bureaucracy saying that, ‘without a connivance of the Bureaucrats it (the scam of such magnitude) would not have been possible'. About involvement of political leadership of the state, not exactly meaning a clean cheat, Justice Shah said that the particular aspect is a matter of investigation by investigating agencies as the commission has not received any exact information about involvement of political leaders."

Basudev Mahapatra

   

After the public hearing on December 12, 2011, where leaders of opposition political parties, members of civil society and development workers of Odisha placed their viewpoints on the alleged mining scam of a huge magnitude, Justice M B Shah, leader of the central government appointed commission to probe into the scam, said that, "illegal mining took place because there is a boom in export". Justice Shah, while briefing the media after a public hearing in Bhubaneswar, confirmed the involvement of bureaucracy saying that, ‘without a connivance of the Bureaucrats it (the scam of such magnitude) would not have been possible'.

About involvement of political leadership of the state, not exactly meaning a clean cheat, Justice Shah said that the particular aspect is a matter of investigation by investigating agencies as the commission has not received any exact information about involvement of political class or leadership.

Early in the day, Justice Shah had a round of discussion with the government officials of Odisha where the members of the commission were given a presentation about the steps taken by the government to control illegal mining in the state. Officials from all concerned departments and public sector organisations such as Paradip Port, Railways etc. including the Chief Secretary of Odisha were present in the meeting. “We had a long discussion with the commission. A number of issues were actually discussed. Some of the issues were raised by the state government including the issues of increase of mining royalties and export regulation, peripheral development etc.”, said the Chief Secretary of Odisha Bijya Kumar Patnaik adding that, “We will be waiting for specific directions or comments from the commission which they will be submitting to the ministry. After receiving the specific comments, we will examine them and will implement whatever we can.”

During its four days tour, the commission visited various mines in the districts for last three days from December 9 to December 11 when it came across and examined the issues like illegal mining, health hazards thereof and livelihood issues of people. However, the commission skipped its scheduled visit to Koida mining region of Sundergarh district.

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