Bhubaneswar: In a significant development to check illegalities in mining, the State Mines Department of the Odisha Government has issued show cause notices to 57 mining firms.

Mr. Umesh Chandra Jena, Deputy Director of Mines, Joda, has alleged that the mining companies which have been issued notices had violated the environmental rules and contract clauses. While some companies worked outside the leased area, some produced minerals beyond the plan approved by the Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM), some violated mining laws.

Mr. Jena said that the mines owners were given one week time to explain their stand on the allegations made against them.

It is noteworthy to mention that earlier the State Mines Department, the Odisha Government had suspended licenses of 50 mine owners and had stopped mineral exploitation in three mines for not furnishing complete reports on the exploitation of minerals by them in the last four years.

222 companies were asked to furnish details about their mineral exploitation in the past four years. While 172 companies furnished details, 50 of them are yet to respond to the order. Of the 50 companies, 31 are associated with iron ore 19 deal in manganese.

But the big question is that how the mining firms were allowed to operate illegally since long and why the Government did not take any action to stop this earlier.

Sources said, the State Government expedited its action recently, particularly after the Shah Commission headed by Justice B M Shah announced its plan to visit Odisha.

On the other hand, issuing of such notice will help regulate the illegalities made by the mine owners, says a mining expert.