BHUBANESWAR: The Odisha government today suspended operations in seven mines that failed to pay penalties by December 31 for overproduction and illegal activities.
The Supreme Court had on August 2 imposed a penalty on 152 iron ore and manganese lessees in the state for illegal mining. These mines were found to have conducted operations without forest and environment clearances, sometimes beyond the permitted area, between 2000 and 2011.
The state had a target of collecting Rs 17,576 crore as penalty by the end of 2017 but could accrue only Rs 8,223 crore, said steel and mines minister Prafulla Mallick.
Only 72 defaulters have been able to meet the deadline, he said.
The BJD government will submit a status report on fine collection to the Central Empowered Committee, (CEC) appointed by the Supreme Court, in two to three days, said director of mines Dipak Mohanty. The date for next hearing in the case has been fixed on January 17.
The government had on previous occasions issued demand notices to the leaseholders and warned them of action if they failed to meet the deadline.
The seven mines that were served notices today included state-run PSU IDCOL’s Roida mine, ESSEL’s Koira mine, Mideast’s Roida mine and Serajuddin Co’s Balda mine.