Mining companies are saddled with Rs 17,576.17 crore compensation which they need to pay for extracting excess iron and manganese ore beyond the limits approved under environment clearance (EC). After the Supreme Court recently ruled out any extension in deadline and also foiled their bid for staggered payments, miners are making frenzied efforts to shell out the penalties.
Odisha's steel & mines minister Prafulla Mallick said Thursday that the government was hopeful of collecting the whole amount.
OMC faced the biggest penalty burden at Rs 2,177.97 crore. There were other leaseholders saddled with significant penalties- Sarda Mines (Rs 1,983.86 crore), Essel Mining (Rs 1,102 crore), Mesco Steel (Rs 924.75 crore), Orissa Minerals Development Corporation (Rs 642 crore) and Tata Steel (Rs 614 crore).
The central empowered committee CEC, an apex court-appointed panel to probe illegal mining in Odisha, had calculated the figure for excess mining beyond the limits approved under EC), at Rs 17,576.17 crore. Its report says miners illegally extracted 215.5 million tonnes of iron and manganese ore between 2000-01 and 2010-11.
The Supreme Court in a judgment dated August 2 this year, had directed the Odisha government to extract the cost of excess production from the defaulting miners. The apex court called for the recovery of 100 per cent compensation compared to 30 per cent recommended by the central empowered committee (CEC), a panel appointed by the court to probe into allegations of large-scale illegal mining in the state. The court was adjudicating in a case relating to rampant illegal mining in Odisha filed by the NGO Common Cause.
Complying with the Supreme Court order, the Odisha government raised a demand notice for EC violations on 150-odd iron and manganese ore leases.