Even as more than 30 miners have challenged the demand notice of the State Government on imposing penalty to the tune of Rs 68,000 crore for excess ore production, the Directorate of Mines is still in the process of revising the demand for recovery.
The Steel and Mines department is yet to respond to the notices of the revisional authority under the Ministry of Mines hearing the cases of the affected miners.
In November last year, the Deputy Director of Mines (DDM), Joda and Koida circles, had raised of demand of Rs 67,900 crore against more than 100 miners for production of ore more than the approved mining plan during 2001-2010. The Government’s move was contested by the miners in the central tribunal.
Sure of its defeat in the case, the State Government is deliberately delaying the matter by not filing its counter to the revisional authority, sources in the mining industries said.
The revision of the penalty imposed on miners was supposed to be finalised by June after giving opportunities to the affected parties to be heard.
The DDM, Joda circle, who was hearing the lessees, was placed under suspension a couple of weeks ago. The DDM of Koida circle has been shifted and posted in Joda circle. The new DDM will hear the cases afresh and it will take time to rework the penalty, the sources said.
The Government invoked Section 21(5) of the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 to recover the cost of excess production which the miners claim illegal as they have already paid royalty on the ore to the Government.
Iron ore production has drastically fallen due to some wrong measures taken by the Government and this has made an impact on the ore-based industries in the State. The ore production was about 70 million tonnes during 2012-13. There production is likely to come down by 40 per cent if corrective measures are not taken by the Government, industries sources said.