New Delhi: The Cabinet is likely to consider a proposal on Thursday for extending by another year the term of Justice MB Shah Commission, which is probing the issues of illegal mining of iron and manganese ore.
“The Cabinet in all likelihood would take up Mines Ministry’s proposal to give a year’s extension to the one-man Justice MB Shah Inquiry Commission. Justice Shah needs some more time to visit six-seven states including Odisha, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh to complete the inquiry,” said a source privy to the development.
“We have already proposed extension of his term by one year as he (Justice MB Shah) needs to visit mines in some states. Besides compilation of data is also an arduous task,” said a senior mines ministry official.
The commission, constituted in November 2010 to probe the issues of illegal mining, was to submit its final report by 18 May — 18 months from its appointment.
So far, the commission has submitted two interim reports. Of this, one was submitted last year on the iron ore mining across the country and the other report was given in March this year on illegal mining in Goa.
The first report had recommended ban on iron ore exports. The second report is also believed to have recommended the same, though from Goa only.
Justice Shah Commission of enquiry had advocated ban on export of these minerals running into billions of rupees and warned that such activities could influence state policies besides promoting illegal mining.
“Export of 92 percent of iron ore fines to China to fulfil its requirements, led to increase in illegal mining… This has increased menace of mafia controlling mining activities…it has given unimaginable huge profits,” it had said.
Suggesting a ban on exports to conserve the mineral for future, the government-appointed Commission has said exports not only increase illegal activities but also influence state policies “because of money power”.
The report had added, “It would be difficult to break unholy nexus between law keepers and law breakers because the corruption is likely to flourish.”