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The Odisha government has raised fresh demand notices on miners guilty of overproduction. Acting on the directive of the Supreme Court, the state government has initially slapped the notice on iron and manganese ore produced by mining companies beyond the approved limits of environment clearance (EC).
"We have despatched the revised notices on miners complying with the Supreme Court. Other demand notices relating to violations of mining plan, consent to operate and Forest (Conservation) Act are being worked out and will be issued shortly", said state steel & mines minister Prafulla Mallick.
The demand notice for EC violations is according to the figure worked out by the apex court appointed central empowered committee (CEC), the minister informed. Notices have been served on 152 erring mining firms. 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.
In its order dated August 2, the Supreme Court (SC) called for the recovery of 100 per cent compensation in lieu of the excess ore lifted.
Disposing of a writ petition filed by Common Cause in a case of rampant illegal mining in Odisha, the apex court ruled that there can be no compromise on the quantum of compensation that should be recovered from any defaulting lessee - it should be 100 per cent. The CEC had advocated recovery of 30 per cent of the cost of production as compensation.
The SC order held that the compensation figure should be the one rationalized by CEC. For excess ore production over the limits approved under environment clearance, the penalty by CEC has been worked out at Rs 17576.17 crore. The court has also directed the ore excavated illegally in violation of Forest (Conservation) Act and beyond the limits approved set in the mining plan prepared by Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM) and consent to operate awarded by the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB).
The exact compensation to be paid by mining companies is yet to be extrapolated. The state government is working on the figure which industry sources estimate at around Rs 25,000 crore. According to the CEC report, miners illegally extracted 215.5 million tonnes of iron and manganese ore in Odisha between 2000-01 and 2010-11.