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Odisha Mine Owners’ Body To Challenge State Govt’s Rs 2,900 Cr Penalty Notice

04 October 2017

Soumya Ranjan Sahoo

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Bhubaneswar: In response to the Rs 2,900 crore penalty notice slapped on the mine owners in pursuance of the Supreme Court’s verdict against illegal and excess mining in Odisha, Eastern Zone Mining Association (EZMA) has threatened to challenge the State Government’s fine notice in the court of law.

The owners say that the notice slapped violates the spirit of Supreme Court’s order. Eastern Zone Mining Association (EZMA) general secretary Prabodh Mohanty said, “The State Government’s notice served is going against the spirit and understanding of the Supreme Court order. Certainly we’ve reservations on it. As the State Government has served show cause, we’ll raise our objections while keeping our stand. In the court order nothing has been mentioned on account of consent to operate violation or mining plan violation. Hence, the State Government’s notice is beyond the understanding of the Supreme Court order.”

“Eventually if the State Government rejects our reply to its show cause notice, we’ll obviously take legal recourse. We can move the hon’ble High Court and Supreme Court challenging the notice,” the EZMA general secretary threatened.

On the contrary, Odisha Mines Minister Prafulla Mallick argued, “We’ve not violated the Supreme Court’s order. Accordingly, we’ve issued notice to the mine owners.”

Reacting to the EZMA’s complaint, the Minister said, “They are free to go to the court if they doubt on any of the interpretations of the court’s order. Every Indian citizen has the freedom to knock the doors of the court. It all depends on the hon’ble court whether to admit the review petition of the mine owners or not. But the State Government has issued notice in accordance with the law.”

Notably, Odisha Government has issued notice to 23 mine owners for excess mining for breaching the official norms and yardsticks. In pursuance of the apex court verdict on August 2 this year, the State Government has slapped the Rs 2,900 crore penalty notice.

In the first phase, the State Government has already issued notice to 151 mine owners for violation of Environmental and Pollution Control Board’s norms.

The cost of excess mining has been assessed about Rs 17,576.17 crore.

Hence, the 23 owners have been issued the show cause notice for having allegedly resorted to excess mining. In the notice they have been ordered to cough up Rs 2,900 crore penalty in compliance with the apex court’s order.

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Prabodh Mohanty, General Secretary, Eastern Zone Mining Association

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Prafulla Mallick, Minister, Mines, Odisha