NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court appointed committee on Friday informed the court that illegal mining had been rampant in Odisha between 2000- 2011 and 2131 lakh MT of iron and 24 lakh MT of manganese of notional value of Rs 17,576 crore had been extracted by the mining companies without securing the mandatory environmental clearance .
In its 178-page report, the committee said that the errant firms included PSUs and companies belonging to Tata and Aditya Birla Groups.
The report also said that the illegal mining was done with the consent of state authorities and the senior state government officials right from the Chief Secretary cannot escape the responsibility for such wholesale and brazen violation of the Acts, rules and guidelines and the directions of the court.
“It is most disturbing to note that the entire production without the statutory approvals has been transported under the transit permits issued by officers of the state government concerned and that too after payment of royalty at the applicable rates,” it said.
“The 14 lessees, who have produced above 50 lakh MT of iron or manganese without the environmental clearances, include OMC Ltd (a government of Odisha Undertaking) BPME Ltd (a government of India Undertaking) and companies belonging to some of the well known corporate groups such as Tata Group and Aditya Birla Group.
“The 14 lessees account for 72.83 per cent and 57.86 per cent respectively of such production of iron ore and manganese,” it said.
“The total notional value of the minerals produced without the environmental clearance, at the weighted average price of minerals as published by the IBM, adds up to Rs 17,091.24 crore for iron and Rs 484.92 crore for manganese,” it said.
It also recommended that 30 per cent of the notional value of the iron and manganese produced by companies without the environmental clearances be recovered from them.
It added that the compensation may be directed to be paid within a period of three months.