Odisha to confiscate properties of 6 mine owners for failing to pay penalty
The Odisha government on Saturday ordered the confiscation of movable and immovable properties of six mine owners in Keonjhar district after they failed to pay penalty for illegal extraction of iron and mangenese ores between 2001-01 and 2010-11.
Keonjhar district collector Ashish Thakre asked the tehsildars and police to confiscate movable and immovable property of six mines owners under Odisha Public Demands Recovery Act, 1962. A senior mining official said the mining lease holders were supposed to pay up the penalty within a reasonable time, but some had failed to stick to the schedule after a Supreme Court order in 2017.
This is the first such case of attachment of properties of defaulting mining leaseholders in Odisha.
The mining leaseholders whose properties are going to be attached are Shiv Dutt Sharma, BPME, Narayani & Sons Limited, BK Mohanty, Odisha Mining Development Corporation (Thakurani) and Basudev Agrawal. “These leaseholders could not pay on time and did not give satisfactory reply over the cause of delay. So we started certificate cases for confiscation of their properties last year,” said an official.
The penalty payable by these six companies amounts to a little over Rs 1977 crore.
In 2017, the Supreme Court had ordered that mining companies who had been extracting iron and manganese ore beyond the limits approved under environment clearance would have to pay Rs 17,576.17 crore compensation. The central empowered committee, an apex court-appointed panel to probe illegal mining in Odisha, had calculated the figure for illegal extraction of 215.5 million tonnes of iron and manganese ore between 2000-01 and 2010-11.
So far mining companies have paid Rs 14,800 crore in penalties for illegal extraction.
In 2013, the justice MB Shah Commission of inquiry probing the mining scam in the State had said that if the value of the iron ore extracted from Keonjhar and Sundargarh districts (where bulk of the mines are located) for one year is given to the tribal families of the two districts, then each of the tribal families would become rich by Rs 9.43 lakh.