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File cases against miners for violation of EP Act, Odisha govt tells collectors

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Reported by Chinmaya Dehury

Bhubaneswar, Mar 11:

The Odisha government has asked collectors, who are yet to launch prosecution against miners for violation of the provisions of the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) notification 1994 and EIA notification 2006 even after the indictment of Justice Shah Commission to do o immediately.

“Necessary clarification has been issued to all collectors and district magistrates to launch prosecution expeditiously for violation of Environment Protection Act in all pending cases at their level,” said a letter written by special secretary, Forest and Environment Department, to the Rayagada district Collector.

The letter has asked the Collector to file prosecution against the defaulting miningcompany in consultation with the public prosecutor invoking Section 19 of the EP Act, 1986.

The government has already asked the district Collectors in the mineral rich districts to file cases against the mining projects immediately so that the imposed amount can be recovered and other necessary action can be taken against the defaulters.

It is to be noted that the Odisha illegal mining scam has been pegged at Rs. 59,203 crore by the Justice MB Shah Commission in its report. Illegal iron and manganese ore amounting to 22.80 crore tonnes was extracted illegally from the state for almost a decade.

The report of the Shah Commission has said that top firms such as SAIL, Tata Steel, Aditya Birla group’s Essel Mining and Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC) are among 70 firms that have violated environment and forest laws.