Odisha asks district authorities to initiate action against errant miners

Miners in Odisha who failed to pay the Supreme Court-mandated compensation are headed for trouble. The state steel & mines department has asked collectors of two iron ore rich districts, Keonjhar and Sundargarh, to submit status reports on action initiated against the defaulters.

In a letter to the two district authorities, R K Sharma, principal secretary (steel & mines), Odisha government, has sought the status report on action taken with respect to identification of properties to initiate certificate cases. Much to the dismay of the department, the district collectors were yet to apprise it on the details of meetings of the District Level Task Forces and action initiated against the defaulting lessees.

After the Supreme Court order in a case of rampant illegal mining in Odisha, the state government had slapped notices on 131 iron and manganese ore miners to recover Rs 175.76 billion. The penalty was to be forked out for violating environment clearance (EC) limits while extracting ore. The figure was calculated by the apex court appointed panel, the central empowered committee (CEC). The court order of August 2, 2017 was in response to a petition filed by the NGO Common Cause.

The court had stipulated December 31, 2017 as the deadline for payments.

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