Odisha to issue revised notices to miners found guilty of over production

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The Odisha government has decided to send fresh demand notices to miners held guilty of excess production of minerals after the Supreme Court order on rampant illegal mining in the state. The fresh notices are expected to be dispatched to the errant mining companies in phases in 10 days.

For production beyond the limits approved under environment clearance (EC), the state government will go by the calculation of the apex court appointed a central empowered committee (CEC).

“Paragraph 156 of the Supreme Court judgment makes it amply clear that the compensation under EC violation should be as per the cost rationalized by the CEC and we will go by the figure. Beyond this, the Supreme Court has said that excess mining under mining plan approved by the Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM) and CTO (Consent to Operate) issued by the State Pollution Control Board has to be included. The figure for excess mining under these two heads approximately amounts to Rs 2,000 crore”, said Odisha's chief secretary Aditya Padhi.

“The Supreme Court has accepted the valuation of CEC with the caveat that compensation under excess ore raised in violation of mining plan and CTO are factored”, he added.

In addition to excess mining beyond the approved mining plan and CTO, the state government would assess the compensation in lieu of violation of Forest (Conservation) Act.

“Whatever is vetted will be issued to the miners immediately- this can include the compensation under EC limits violation. Rest of the notices would be sent within 10 days after assessment of the figure”, Padhi said.

The CEC had assessed the penalty for EC limits violation at Rs 17,576.16 crore- Rs 17091.24 crore for iron ore and Rs 484.92 crore for manganese ore. CEC in its report on illegal mining in Odisha had advocated for recovery of 30 per cent of the cost of production. The CEC's calculation is based on benchmark price issued by the IBM instead of the state government's methodology of determining penalty amount on current market prices for ore extracted even 10 years back. According to the CEC report, miners illegally extracted 215.5 million tonnes of iron and manganese ore since 2000-01.

Following the Supreme Court order, a clutch of miners – both captive and non-captive – have to cough up the penalty as a result of this order. Mining companies in dock include Tata Steel, Essel Mining & Industries Ltd, Indrani Patnaik, Rungta Mines, Serajuddin & Company and even state run entities like Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC). Mining companies need to pay the compensation latest by December 31 this year

On August 2 this year, the apex court had directed the recovery of 100 per cent compensation for excess extraction of iron ore. The case pertained to a writ petition filed by Common Cause with regard to the illegal mining in the state. 

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