Odisha to pull out all stops to recover penalty from defaulting mines

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government on Friday said it will make an all-out effort to recover the penalty from the defaulting mines, claiming it had already recovered over Rs 10,000 crore so far from them.

“If you owe money to the government and you think that it will forget, then you should remember that the government has elephant type memory. We will be making all-out efforts to recover the penalty from the defaulting mines,” said Steel and Mines secretary R.K. Sharma.

Sharma, while addressing a roundtable on Odisha mining scenario organised by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) here, said the government will collect penalty as per the direction of Supreme Court from all the lessees including the closed mines.

He also said there are legal provisions for attaching personal properties if the defaulters failed to pay the penalty imposed by the state government.

On January 30, the Supreme Court asked the Odisha government to collect fine with 12 per cent interest from mines leaseholders, who failed to pay the imposed fine for illegal mining.

The court also asked to take coercive action including confiscation of properties of the mines leaseholders, who do not pay the imposed fine.

Odisha has collected over Rs 10,000 crore as the penalty against the demand of Rs 17,576 crore. It had issued a notice to 131 mining leaseholders as per the direction of the Supreme Court to collect the imposed fine by December 31 last year.

While several non-working mines are yet to pay the imposed penalty, the state government had closed down seven working mines including six iron ore and one manganese mines, which have not paid the full compensation amount.

“I don’t expect much impact on production following the close down of the mines. There are stocks lying and these can be offered in the market,” said the steel and mines Secretary.

He said, several mines were closed down earlier and despite that Odisha has increased its production capacity.

Jindal Steel and Power Ltd executive director Manish Kharbanda requested the Odisha government to urge upon the Central government to formulate a regulatory/legislative framework to allow the non-operating iron ore mines to start operation with a deferred penalty payment mechanism.

This would help ease the iron ore supply situation in the state as well as help the state to realise the balance penalties from the non-operating leaseholders, he added. (IANS)

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