BHUBANESWAR: The State government has slapped a penalty of Rs 144.88 crore on Arcellor Mittal India Pvt Ltd for shortfall in despatch of iron ore from Thakurani mines.As per the Mines Development and Production Agreement (MDPA) signed on June 25, 2020, the annual target of minimum despatch of iron ore has been agreed for 43,99,600 million tonnes (MT) in the first year.
However, the lessee has dispatched 42,02,911.711 MT during the first year of the lease recording a shortfall of 1,96,688.289 MT.“You are liable to pay the differential amount towards shortfall in despatch vis a vis the minimum despatch required under Sub Rule-1 of 12(A) of Mineral (Other than Atomic and Hydrocarbon Energy Mineral) Concession Rules,2016,” said the demand notice issued by Joint Director of Mines, Joda on August 13.
The Directorate of Mines has given 15 days time to the manager of Thakurani mines for digital payment of the amount failing which, action deemed proper will be taken to recover the funds through certificate case. The assessment of penalty due to the shortfall in MDPA during operation prior to July 1, 2021 is made on the basis of Rule 12A (1) and 12A (2) of the Mineral Concession Rules, 1906. Arcellor Mittal was the preferred bidder for Thakurani mines last year by quoting 107.55 per cent over the floor price.
This is the first demand notice issued to a lessee which successfully bidded Thakurani mining block whose lease period expired before March 31, 2020.The Centre has been making sweeping changes in the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 and Mineral Concession Rules, 1960 to ensure seamless production and smooth availability of ore in the market.
As several successful bidders of working mines (whose previous mining leases expired on March 31, 2020) have not maintained the production and dispatch quantity up to the level required under Rule 12A of the MCR, the Ministry of Mines has proposed to amend the MC Rules, 2016. The amendment aims at mandating the bidder to make payment equivalent to the revenue share and other statutory levies that would have been payable at the prescribed level of minimum production/dispatch targets on quarterly basis.