Odisha government today said its expects about Rs 20,000 crore penalty collection from mines owners who indulged in illegal mining and violated several laws including environmental clearance, forest clearance, mining rules and consent to operate norms. "We are expecting penalty collection of about Rs 17,575 crore towards violation of environment laws and another Rs 2,000 crore from violation of forest clearance, mining plan and operate to consent norms," chief secretary A P Padhi told reporters after a review meeting. Besides Padhi, state advocate general and senior officials of the Forest and Environment department and Mining department attended the meeting to chalk out the modalities of the penalty collection from the mines owners as per the Supreme Court's August 2 judgement. The meeting today resolved that the fresh demand notices would be served to the mines owners within 10 days for recovery of penalty from them on charge of violation of several laws.
The state government had earlier issued notices to the lessees for recovery of more than Rs 61,000 crore. The Supreme Court relied on the 2014 final report of the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) according to which the total number of leases granted for mining iron and manganese ore was 187 in three districts out of which 102 lease holders did not have requisite environment clearance under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 or approval under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980. The Apex Court on its August 2 judgement had said that the mining companies in Odisha operating without environmental clearance will have to pay a 100 per cent penalty to the state on the price of illegally extracted iron and manganese ores with effect from 2000-01.
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