By Jayajit Dash
Continuing its crackdown on excess ore extracted by mine owners, the Odisha government has initiated prosecution against 11 mine owners for raising ore beyond the approved limits of Environment (Protection) EP Act-1986.
A total of 108 lessees are in dock for producing ore in excess of the quantum approved under EP Act. For the balance 97 lessees, collectors of respective districts have been asked to initiate prosecution. The violations have been recorded in case of iron ore, manganese, chromite, limestone, dolomite and quartzite mines.
“Presently, prosecution has been initiated against 11 lessees at the sub-divisional judicial magistrate or junior first class magistrate level. The lessees prosecuted for EP Act violation include Gandhamardhan Sponge Iron Pvt Ltd (Putulipani iron ore mines), Kalinga Mining Corporation (Jurudi iron ore mines), Mala Ray mines, Sirajuddin & Company (Balda mines), Bhanja Mines (Inganijharan iron ore mines), Mineral Trading Syndicate (Bhulbeda iron ore mines), Bharat Processing & Mechanical Engineering (Bhadrasahi iron ore mines), Narayani & Sons (Lahupada iron ore mines), Hargovind Pandya (Jajang iron ore mines), Essel Mining (Jhiling Langalota mines-Barbil) and T B Lal (Kasia iron ore mines). All these lessees have extracted ore beyond the quantity permitted under EP Act,” said a senior official of forest & environment department.
“Under EP Act, there is no provision of imposing penalty. We instruct the respective collectors to initiate prosecution against the lessees,” he added.
Separately, the mining department has slapped a penalty of Rs 70,000 crore on 60 lessees for excess production by invoking Section 21 (5) of Mines and Minerals (Development & Regulation) MMDR Act-1957.
A high-powered committee of the state government had found 104 lessees guilty of raising ore beyond IBM (Indian Bureau of Mines) ratified mining plan. The total penalty amount on 104 lessees has been worked out at Rs 75,000 crore. All major violators have been issued showcause notices.