BHUBANESWAR: After penalising iron and manganese ore mines for excess mining without environmental clearance, the State Government has served a show-cause notice to Coal India sub-subsidiary Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL) to explain why penalty will not be imposed for excess production of coal without lawful authority and environmental clearance.
Estimating the value of the coal extracted in excess of the environmental clearance at `20,169 crore, the Deputy Director of Mines, Talcher circle is reported to have given 30 days time to the central PSU to respond to the notice.
“A show-cause notice has been issued to MCL under Section-21(5) of the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act for overproduction in violation of environmental norms. It has been given 30 days to respond after which demand notice will be issued,” said Minister of State for Steel and Mines Prafulla Mallick.The notice has been issued as per the August 2 order of the Supreme Court which has directed the State Government to recover the full cost of the minerals extracted illegally, unauthorisedly and in violation of forest, environment and pollution control norms.
The State Government has started issuing a show-cause notice to non-ferrous mine owners after taking the advice of the Advocate General who has given an opinion in favour of 100 percent recovery of the cost of the excess minerals produced other than iron ore and manganese.
The penalty claims on MCL will increase further as the show-cause notice does not include claims against the company allegedly carrying out mining without forest clearance, beyond the approved mining plan, without the consent of the Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) to operate mines.
Separate notices will be sent to MCL for violation of rules on these three areas, said a senior official of the Steel and Mines department.
Earlier, the State Government had issued demand notices to 152 mines for recovery of `17,576.16 crore towards excess mining of 2155.11 lakh tonnes of iron and manganese ore without environmental clearance during 10 years from 2000 to 2010.On October 30, the Steel and Mines department has directed the Director of Mines to decide modalities for recovery of compensation under Section-21(5) of the MMDR Act from coal and other non-ferous mines owners.