Illegal mining: Supreme Court asks to collect fine with interest from leaseholders

New Delhi/Bhubaneswar: The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Odisha government to collect fine with 12% interest from mines leaseholders, who failed to pay the imposed fine for illegal mining.

The court also asked to take punitive action including confiscation of properties of the mines leaseholders, who do not pay the imposed fine.

The court has asked the state government to continue the collection of fine with 12 percent interest. If they fail to pay the fine, the government can take coercive action against the mines leaseholders, said Prabodh Mohanty, general secretary of Eastern Zonal Mining Association.

It has also asked IDCOL to pay penalty with 12 percent interest. IDCOL pay the imposed fine after 10 days of Supreme Court set deadline.

The apex court condoned the delay and granted permission to operate the mines subject to payment of 12% interest for 11 days.

However, the court did not allow the Essel mining, which made delayed payments, to operate the mines. The matter will be heard after 10 days.

Notably, Odisha has collected over Rs 10,000 crore as penalty from mining companies operating without necessary clearances against the demand of Rs 17,576 crore.

The Supreme Court had asked on October 2 order to collect the imposed fine by December 31 last year.

Of the 131 mining leaseholders who were issued notice by the government, 73 mine owners deposited their fine by December 31, 2017. Of those 30 are non-working mines and rest 43 are working mines. Seven have not paid the full compensation amount.

The state government has stopped the operation of mines, which have failed to deposit the penalty fully.