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Illegal mining in Odisha: CEC recommends tough measures against violators

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Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, Oct 18:

The Supreme Court appointed Central Empowered Committee (CEC) inquiring into the illegal mining in Odisha has recommended recovery of 70% of the notional value of the iron ore and manganese produced by 20 lease holders in violation of the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980.

Mining Pic“The CEC recommends that 70 % of the notional value of the iron ore and manganese produced by the lessees by undertaking mining operations in the forest land in violation of the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 may be directed to be recovered from the respective lessees,” said the CEC in its report submitted to the apex court.

The concerned lease holders include OMC, AMTC, KJS Ahluwalia, Tata Steel, RP Sao, OMDC, Kalinga Mining Corporation and Essel mining.

“Wherever the mineral production is both from the forest land as well as non-forest land then in such cases the notional value of the production from the forest land may be calculated on pro rata basis of the extent of the forest land and non-forest land involved,” said the report.

It has also recommended against the renewal of two leases of the Aditya Birla group’s privately held Essel Mining and Industries Ltd (ESIL). It has also raised concerns of Jindal Steel and Power’s arrangement with Sarda Mines and questioned the favourable terms of between Thriveni Earth movers and several of his clients.

According to the report, Essel has undertaken production of 19.68mt of iron ore without or in excess of the environmental clearance. “The notional value of the mineral so produced is Rs. 1,10,2.63crore,” says the report.

As the SC empowered panel has found massive illegal mining and other serious illegalities in the operations of Kasia and Jilling Langalota mines, the CEC has recommended to the SC to direct the state government not to consider renewing these leases.

“Instead both the leases may be directed to be assigned through transparent competitive bidding process and 40% of the amount so received may be directed to be transferred to the SPV (to be set up with the funds claimed) . The balance 60% may, as revenue of the State Government, be deposited in the Consolidated Fund,” said the report.