This Week Orissa: Mining report hits stumbling blocks

The Justice M B Shah Commission probing the state’s mining scam will need to unearth more before it can bring out a report.

Written by Debabrata Mohanty | Published:March 15, 2013 2:44 am

Mining report hits stumbling blocks

The Justice M B Shah Commission probing the state’s mining scam will need to unearth more before it can bring out a report. Though it had been expected to submit its report by the end of December,complaints from miners over allegedly misleading evidence given by the state government have now delayed that. During a recent meeting with commission members,the miners alleged that steel and mines department officials had superimposed Google maps on the revenue map to determine lease area encroachment. Also,they said,differential global positioning system (DGPS) maps given by the Orissa Space Application Centre were erroneous. The commission has directed the state to form a committee for physical survey and lease area demarcation of mines. With so much to do,even Justice Shah has expressed doubt if the commission can meet its July deadline.

Twin paper leaks

Orissa’s school examinations have come under a cloud a number of times this season,with higher secondary question papers leaked and matriculation answer-sheets found dumped at a railway station. The HS exams have seen the leak of the physics and chemistry papers,and both exams have been rescheduled,but there are fears that more question papers may have been compromised. The government has instituted a probe by the CID,which has arrested a deputy director of the higher education department as well as the chairman of a college. Higher Education Minister Badri Narayan Patra has announced a number of measures for strengthening the examination system.

PSUs drain Orissa

Apart from the burden put by sops such as rice at Rs 1 a kg,PSUs in Orissa too continue to drain the state’s finances. The latest CAG report tabled in the assembly has said seven of 36 working PSUs in the state incurred losses of Rs 1,009.79 crore in 2011-12. The power utility Grid Corporation of Orissa (Rs 936.81 crore) led the list,while Orissa Power Transmission Corporation Ltd lost Rs 12.73 crore. The CAG said there is scope to improve their functioning and enhance profits and stressed the need for greater professionalism and accountability. Orissa Power Generation Corporation (Rs 206.29 crore) and Orissa Hydro Power Corporation (Rs 95.61 crore) had profits to show.

Sever and seal

Pyari Mohan Mohapatra has proved a standing example of the cliché about politics making strange bedfellows. The expelled BJD member,who now heads Orissa Jana Morcha,has hinted ahead of the 2014 polls that he is not averse to joining hands with BJP. That is ironic because it was Mohapatra who was instrumental in severance of the BJD’s ties with the BJP ahead of the 2009 polls. In his eagerness to get back at Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik,Mohapatra has said he is ready to ally with anyone except the Congress and the BJD. Incidentally,the BJP’s new state president,K V Singhdeo,is on good terms with Mohapatra.

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