BJP slams Odisha govt for downscaling fine on miners

Bhubaneswar: The BJP today criticized the Odisha government for scaling down penalty recoverable from mining leaseholders accused of illegal mining despite Supreme Court’s verdict for 100 percent collection of fine from them.

The BJP at a press conference here alleged that the state government was trying to please those involved in illegal mining by scaling down its earlier target of Rs 59,000 crore towards collection of fine to the current estimate of Rs 17,576 crore.

BJP state general secretary Bhrugu Buxipatra smelled of a deal having been struck between corrupt officials of the state government and the mining leaseholders.

Buxipatra threatened to move court on this account while taking the issue to the streets.

“The Supreme Court in its verdict has stated for 100 percent collection of amount from mining leaseholders accused of illegal mining. The state government had earlier served notice for recovery of Rs 59,000 crore from mining leaseholders for illegal mining. Scaling it down to the current demand of Rs 17,000 crore by wrong interpretation of the SC verdict clearly proves of honeymooning between the state government, its corrupt officials and corrupt mining lease holders. We will take the matter to court and the people as well,” informed Buxipatra at the press conference.

However, the ruling BJD has termed the accusations as baseless.

“A particular political party has made baseless accusations. The Supreme Court has noted that the price of mineral extracted without or in excess of the environment clearance has been assessed by the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) at Rs 17,576.16 crore. The state government is going to take a decision on the basis of this,” stated BJD spokesperson Prashant Nanda at a press conference.

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