**Bhubaneswar: ** In the wake of the Supreme Court’s landmark judgement on the Odisha Mining Scam case on Wednesday, Odisha Mines Owners’ Association said that they would seek legal opinion for moving further the apex court on its verdict as financially unsound mine owners are now unable to afford the 100% penalty slapped on them.
In his media reactions after the apex court’s order, Odisha Mines Owners’ Association general secretary Prabodh Mohanty said, “At the present crucial juncture, out of 187 mines in the State here, 102 mines are not running now. The current condition of those mines owners is such that they are not even in a position to pay the 100% fine imposed by the Supreme Court. But, as it is the Supreme Court’s order, we are all bound down to abide by.”
“However, as an owner has no capacity to pay the penalty amount, we’ll seek again legal opinion if could go against the judgement filing review petition in the Supreme Court. It’s because this matter of incapability was not raised in the apex court. Now we’ll examine the verdict in detail and if possible we may opt for a re-appeal,” the association general secretary added.
On the contrary, Green Nobel winner and eminent social activist of Odisha Prafulla Samantara commented, “One who does not obey the verdict will be punished for contempt of court. The mine owners have earned super profit from the mines when in operation. Where is the money? That black money has been either stashed clandestinely elsewhere or invested in some other businesses. They are not poor men who consumed it in their poverty. They have looted the mines and funded different politicians.”
“Those who have resorted to this illegal mining 1980 onwards are bound down to pay the fine amount ordered by the Supreme Court. The Court has delivered it verdict after hearing to all parties. The mines owners had appealed and their deposition also heard. Considering all sides, the Supreme Court passed this judgement,” Samantara added.
Veteran journalist and social activist of Odisha Rabi Das remarked, “Even after the Shah Commission’s recommendation for a certain amount of penalty to be imposed, the illegal mines owners remained silent. They had said then that they have obtained a stay order of the court. The State Government did not collect the fine amount then. Had the State Government willed then, the court stay order could have been vacated then.”
“If the owners are complaining that the mines are now closed, it’s because their activities were illegal. The penalty imposition provision is already there in our State Mines Act. The option left out with the mines owners to knock the doors of Supreme Court for a review of its today’s judgement. It depends on the Court to entertain it or not. Those owners won’t pay the fine amount imposed will no more be allowed to run the mines. They will suo moto lose. Those mines will put on auction and owned by some others eligible for. If the owners do not pay even after the Supreme Court’s order, their property and assets will be attached and sold off,” he added.