Govt mulls panel to examine mining defaulters’ penalty plea
As the deadline set by the Supreme Court to recover penalty against the illegal iron ore mining done has already ended on December 31 the State Government is now weighing options to resolve the issue.
Top sources in the Mines Department said the several representations from the companies found on the wrong side of the statute and marked as defaulters of the set environmental norms have been received which are needed to be looked into.
“Some companies have deposited the partial amount with us. We have also received request from mining companies, including major miner SAIL for reconsideration of the fines slapped. They have been told to wait while a decision to form a committee may be taken to look into their petitions,” said a senior official.
Confirming the development following the closure of several iron ore and coal mines operating in the State, Mines Commissioner Abbobacker Siddique, however, denied any final call having taken in this regard. “I cannot comment on this right now. We have received some objections from the mining companies which would be considered as per the merit. However, their objections can be looked only on the basis of human or clerical errors,” he said on Wednesday.
Siddique, at the same time, expected that any decision about convening a meeting of the miners or formation of a panel may be taken after Friday. As per the Supreme Court order dated December 13, 2017, the mining operations have to be stopped unless the full penalty is paid. Officials of the Department have maintained that no fresh mining is being done in those mines.
“The December 13 order of the Supreme Court is very clear and we are sticking to it fully. I think no other competent authority is here to alter with the order which talks against making any compromise. We have also received a detailed instruction from the Centre after the original order from the apex court had come in August last year about abiding by the decision. Since no further direction from the Government, either from the Centre or the State has come, stopping mining is the only way left to us,” said Director Mines SI Minz.
The Mines and Mineral Department after dispatching the demand list to host of companies for alleged illegal iron ore mining having taken place in Jharkhand during 1994-1995 and 2000-01, has also gone on indicating similar violations done in coal, bauxite, limestone, manganese ore and other major minerals in Jharkhand. Even after the Supreme Court waiving the interest part, the figure is said to has crossed Rs 4000 crore for Jharkhand.
Discontinued mining operation, on the other hand, is also expected to hurt revenue part of the State in the days to come. “It is not hurting us now since we have already received the royalty against the mining done.
The fine or compensation is on the excess production done by the firms by violating the environmental norms or without clearances and the demands were raised on that basis.
Now when mining is not taking place then our reserve there is intact, which is not a loss. You may, however, say that at present the royalty coming to us has stopped,” added the Mines Director.
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