Odisha govt asks lessees to pay fine by Dec 31 or face music

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government on Friday warned the mining lease holders to pay the imposed fine by December 31 or face music.

It asked the lessees to adhere the Supreme Court deadline or face shut down of their mines as directed by the apex court. Notably, the Supreme Court has set December 31 deadline to pay the fine imposed by the state government.

Steel and Mines Minister Prafulla Mallick said mining leaseholders who fail to comply with the orders, will have their leases cancelled from the first week of January.

“Currently, we have not estimated the amount of fine deposited. A calculation will be done on January 1 and we will submit a report to the Supreme Court soon after this exercise is completed,” said Mallick.

After the Supreme Court’s order, the Odisha government had served demand notices to mines lease holders to pay about Rs 17,576 crore for extracting minerals beyond permissible limits. It also asked to pay another Rs 2,000 crore from violation of forest clearance, mining plan and operate to consent norms for all the erring mine leaseholders.

While 147 mines were asked to pay fine by the apex court for over production during 2000-11, only 54 mines are operating currently.