Odisha Sun Times Bureau
New Delhi, Apr 24:
The meeting between the Central Empowered Committee and the Odisha government began here this afternoon with the state chief secretary JK Mohapatra and other senior officials representing the Odisha government.
The CEC report to the Supreme Court will be mostly based on the inputs from the state government in today’s meeting and will decide the fate of the state’s mining sector, sources said.
The Supreme Court, which is hearing on the illegal mining in the state, had asked the CEC to submit a report on what interim orders could be issued to deal with the problems posed by large-scale illegal mining in Odisha.
A worried Odisha government Wednesday held a preparatory meeting under the chairmanship of chief secretary JK Mohapatra to defend itself against the likely recommendations of the CEC to the apex court, which is scheduled to conduct a hearing in a PIL filed by an NGO, Commoncause, over the illegal mining in the state on April 28.
It may mentioned here that the Supreme Court had asked the Central and the Odisha governments as well as the CEC to formally explain their position vis a vis allegations by the NGO petitioner that widespread mining illegalities were committed in Odisha.
There are apprehensions that Odisha may face the fate of Goa and Karnataka which had to go for temporary ban on mining before being allowed resumption of operation under a set of safeguard.
The top court asked the CEC to report back on the illegalities like as mining without environment clearance, forest clearance or on deemed extension and listed the issue for further hearing on April 28, next Monday.
The CEC will give a list of mines involved in these illegalities on the lines of Goa and Karnataka.
Karnataka had to face a mining ban and the industry had to meet certain obligations on R&R (reclamation and rehabilitation) before they were allowed to operate. That took two years. Goa’s mining ban was lifted on Monday, after over a year.