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Odisha to recover Rs 20,000 crore as penalty from illegal mining companies

illegal mining

Bhubaneswar: The state government on Tuesday clarified that it would issue demand notices to the mining lessees on the basis of calculations made by the central empowered committee (CEC) for illegal mining to adhere to the August 2 Supreme Court order.

“Since the apex court (in para-156) has stated that recommendation made by the CEC in this regard is not totally unreasonable and also accepted that the compensation should be payable from 2000-2001 onwards at 100 per cent of the price of the mineral, as rationalized by the CEC, the state government would issue demand notices accordingly,” chief secretary A P Padhitold reporters after a high level review meeting here.

Less than a week after the Supreme Court ordered that the entire price of illegally mined ore from the mineral-rich districts of Odisha be recovered from the leaseholders, the state government on Tuesday decided to issue notices in 10 days to them to collect penalty of Rs 17,567 crore.

Calling the Odisha mining scam as rapacious and one involving megabucks while disposing a writ petition filed by NGO Common Cause, the Supreme Court said last Wednesday, “… If there has been illegal mining, the defaulting lessee must bear the consequences and not be benefited by pocketing 70% of the illegally mined ore. It simply does not stand to reason why the State should be compelled to forego what is its due from the exploitation of a natural resource and on the contrary be a party in filling the coffers of defaulting lessees in an ill gotten manner.”

The apex court directed that the errant leaseholders pay up by December 31, 2017.
“The SC had made it very clear that they agreed with the CEC stand. So there was no confusion on the penalty amount,” Padhi added.Odisha chief secretary Aditya Padhi said the centrally empowered committee of the Supreme Court that looked into illegal mining had assessed the total notional value of minerals produced without an environmental clearance or in excess of the environmental clearance at Rs 17,576.16 crore.

Incidentally, the Odisha government sent demand note to more than 100 mining companies in November 2012 asking them to pay up over Rs 68,000 crore for excess mining between 2000 and 2010. So far only two of those companies have paid Rs 69 lakh, while the rest have gone on appeal before the mining tribunal.

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