The Odisha government has raised yet another demand notice on mine leaseholders guilty of excess production. The notice has been despatched to miners whose ore production exceeded the limits under Forest (Conservation) Act, mining plan approved by the Indian Bureau of Mines
(IBM) and consent to operate granted by the State Pollution Control Board as per the Air and Water Acts.
This is the second notice served on miners by the state government since the Supreme Court
order of August 2 this year in a case of rampant illegal mining. In the second notice, the state government hopes to mop up Rs 2,900 crore on the errant miners. The latest notice has been slapped on 23 miners violating the Forest (Conservation) Act and 151 others for other statutory non-compliances.
Complying with the Supreme Court
order, the state government in its initial notice last month had penalised the lessees on excess production beyond what was approved under environment clearance. The cost of excess production was worked out to be Rs 17,576.17 crore as calculated by the apex court appointed central empowered committee (CEC).
"There have been violations of mining plan, Forest Act, Air & Water Acts and consent to operate awarded to the mine leaseholders. We have treated these violations as excess production and accordingly, sent notices to them,” said Deepak Mohanty, director of mines, Odisha government.
The lessees have been allowed 10 days to showcause to the government notice.
Miners complained that the second notice did not conform to the Supreme Court
Prabodh Mohanty, secretary, Eastern Zone Mining Association (EZMA) said, “There is no mention of Air, Water or Forest Acts in the Supreme Court
judgement. The fresh notice by the state government seeking compensation is not payable and is against the spirit of the court order. We will file objection after getting the notice.”
According to the CEC report, miners in Odisha illegally extracted 215.5 million tonnes of iron and manganese ore in Odisha between 2000-01 and 2010-11. 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). They need to pay the compensation latest by December 31 this year.