Collectors’ Reports on Illegal Mining Sought - The New Indian Express

Collectors’ Reports on Illegal Mining Sought

Published: 26th January 2014 09:47 AM

Last Updated: 26th January 2014 09:47 AM

The State Government has asked five district Collectors to file prosecution against iron ore and manganese ore mining companies for violation of Environment Protection Act and furnish details about prosecutions filed against them.

The directive of the Government was in response to the recent communication of the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) asking  the former to take action against the companies which have been named in the Justice MB Shah Commission report on illegal mining.

The Forest and Environment Department has sought reports of the prosecution filed against 23 mining companies including five mines of the State owned Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC) from the districts of Balangir, Jajpur, Keonjhar, Rayagada and Sundargarh.

In a separate letter to Collectors of Keonjhar, Mayurbhanj and Sundargarh districts, the Department has asked to furnish details of the complaint petitions and the charges framed against the mining companies for illegal mining in violation of different statutory laws.

“Sixty two prosecutions have been filed against the defaulting mining projects in your jurisdiction in appropriate courts. However, the details of the charge framed against the defaulters are not known. The details can be ascertained from the copy of the complaint petition,” said Director, environment-cum-special Secretary SB Samant in a letter to Keonjhar district collector.

While recommending action against the miners engaged in illegal mining of ore, the Shah Commission panel had recommended for review of the clearances given to 40 companies holding lease for operating 55 mines around the Baitarni river. It has also suggested modification of the environmental approval of the mines by an expert panel.

The report had blamed both the Centre and state governments for illegal mining in the areas since 1992. While batting for criminal procedures against the officials responsible for the situation, the panel has also sought cost recovery of around ` 65,000 crore for illegally mined iron ore at market price or export price from companies involved.

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