State may move SC against truant mining leaseholders

BHUBANESWAR: The state government, on the basis of the August 2 order, had slapped a demand notice of Rs 17,576 crore against 152 iron ore and .
The penalty was imposed as mining operation in these blocks was carried out without forest and environment clearances, beyond the permitted area and in excess of what had been allowed. Sources in the steel and mines department said more than Rs 5000 crore in fines have been deposited with the state exchequer by Thursday evening. Around 10 to 12 miners have made the payment online which has been deposited with the Odisha Mineral Bearing Areas Development Corporation, a special body set up for the development of the mining affected districts.

Among the major players who made the payments by Thursday include stateowned Odisha Mining Corporation, Tata Steel Limited, Essel Mining and Industries and Rungta Mines. “By Sunday, the state government could get a total of Rs 8,000 crore to Rs 10,000 crore in fines.

All the 46 lessees, whose blocks are operational, looks likely to pay the full penalty failing which their mining operations would be suspended according to the court order,” a mining industry source said. However, the fate of the non-working mines hangs fire as many of the lessees may not pay their dues.

“Lessees of almost all non-working mines may not be able to pay because of financial constraints. Since the mining blocks are nonoperational, lessees of these blocks are not even able to raise loan from the banks,” said Prabodh Mohanty, general secretary of Eastern Zonal Mining Association. Asked about the fate of these non-working blocks after December 31, Prabodh said it is up to the court to decide. On December 13, the had dismissed the plea of the lessees to extend the deadline to pay the fines and to allow them to do it in installments.

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