Advocate General of Odisha requested the state government to establish special courts to hear several pending cases under the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act.
Advocate General Ashok Parija had written a letter to chief secretary to urge the state government to set an example for ensuring speedy trials of offences under the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 as the state is the leading producer of iron ore, limestone, dolomite and sand.
Parija referred to the judgement of the single-judge bench of Orissa high court where the court had mentioned the importance of such courts.
“This court expects the state government to take necessary effective steps in that regard at the earliest in consonance with the provision under Section 30-B of the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 for constitution of special courts for speedy trial of offences” observed Justice SK Sahoo of Orissa high court while rejecting the plea of a person seeking anticipatory bail in a case involving theft of minor minerals.
Karnataka became the first state to establish special courts to ensure speedy trials of the cases related to illegal mining. An amendment was made in the year 2015 in which section 30(B) of the MMDR Act was added following detection of cases related to illegal mining in Odisha, Karnataka and Goa by the mining mafias.
Total 943 illegal mining cases are pending in subordinate courts. According to the officials, establishing such courts would also help the government in dealing with the theft of minor minerals like sand, gravel, stones, laterites, ballasts etc.Thefts of minor minerals has forced the government to deploy armed policemen near the mines.