Bhubaneswar/New Delhi, Aug 2: In what could be a major blow to the mining companies involved in illegal operations in Odisha, the Supreme Court on Wednesday imposed 100 per cent pelty on mining lease holders operating without necessary clearances in the state. A two-member apex court bench comprising Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta asked the companies, which have been served the demand notice by the Odisha government, to deposit the due on or before December 31.
While the state government imposed about Rs 60,000 crore pelty on mines for illegal mining between 2000 to 2010, the Central Empowered Committee, appointed by the apex court, has recommended that at least 30 per cent notiol value may be realised from the mining companies.
“The amounts determined as due from all the mining lease holders should be deposited by them on or before December 31, 2017. Subject to and only after compliance with statutory requirements and full payment of compensation and other dues, the mining lease holders can re-start their mining operations,” the court said. The court’s direction came on the basis of a Public Interest Litigation filed by the watchdog group Common Cause, which demanded action against lessees that had been pointed out as violating the law by the Justice M.B. Shah Commission on illegal mining.
The bench also refrained to direct a CBI inquiry into the mining scam in Odisha. It suggested formation of an exert Committee headed by a retired Supreme Court judge to look into the factors that made rampant illegal mining possible in Odisha and elsewhere. “For the present, we do not propose to direct an investigation or inquiry by the CBI for the reason that what is of immediate concern is to learn lessons from the past so that rapacious mining operations are not repeated in any other part of the country.”(IANS)