Odisha govt collects over Rs 8000 crore as fine from mining companies
The state government had imposed about Rs 60,000 crore as penalty on mines for illegal mining between 2000 and 2010.india Updated: Jan 01, 2018 22:03 IST
Odisha has collected Rs 8,223 crore as penalty from mining companies operating without necessary clearances by December 31, the government said on Monday, roughly four months after the Supreme Court imposed the fine and called the alleged scam “rapacious”.
The director of mines in Odisha, Deepak Mohanty, said of the 131 mining leaseholders who were issued notice by the government, 73 mine owners deposited their fine by December 31, 2017. “Of those 30 are non-working mines and rest 43 are working mines,” he said.
He added that as per the Supreme Court’s order, the mining operation of the defaulter working mines would be stopped. “Of 46 iron mines and 8 manganese mines, 7 have not paid the full compensation amount. Their operation was stopped from today morning,” he said.
Prabodh Mohanty of the Eastern Zonal Mining Association, a body of miners, said he hoped the Supreme Court would note that many mines had been closed in the past seven to eight years. “Many leaseholders are not in a position to pay the penalty. We are hopeful that SC would take a considerate view,” he said.
In August, a two-member apex court bench asked the companies to deposit the fine amount. “Subject to and only after compliance with statutory requirements and full payment of compensation and other dues, the mining lease holders can re-start their mining operations,” the court had said.
The state government had imposed about Rs 60,000 crore as penalty on mines for illegal mining between 2000 and 2010, a central empowered committee, appointed by the top court, recommended that at least 30% notional value be realised from the mining companies.
The court refused to set up a Central Bureau of Investigation inquiry but suggested the formation of an expert committee headed by a retired Supreme Court judge to look into the factors that made rampant illegal mining possible in Odisha. In December, the court refused to extend the deadline for depositing the penalty.
The next hearing of the case in the SC is on January 17, and Mohanty said the state government will submit its status report on that day.