Centre likely to issue notices in 75 Odisha leases over illegal mining

Written by PTI | New Delhi | Updated: Feb 17 2014, 06:58am hrs
The Centre may issue showcause notices to companies like SAIL, Tata Steel, Essel Mining, JSPL and OMC, which hold 75 leases where illegal mining of iron and manganese ores was found by the Shah Commission.

The step would be in addition to legal action being initiated by the Odisha government against firms that carried out mining operations without environmental and other clearances.

The Centre-appointed Justice MB Shah Commission of Inquiry termed 22.56 lakh tonnes of iron and 3 lakh tonne of manganese ore productions by companies holding 75 leases as "illegal", recommending recovery of ore value from these firms. As many as 75 firms, including SAIL, Tata Steel, Aditya Birla group's Essel Mining and Industries, Jindal Strips of Jindal Steel and Power (JSPL) and Orissa Mining Corporation (OMC), have been accused of indulging in "illegal/without any lawful authority" production of ores.

"It is proposed to issue directions to these 75 mining leases for restricting the production of ore to the level specified in the environment clearance letters and issue show cause notices for violations," ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) has said in an official document.

"It is also proposed to write to Odisha state government to take credible action against these mine projects under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, as per the facts of the case," the ministry said.

The Shah Commission has observed that there are 96 leases which have obtained much-delayed environment clearances under EIA (Environment Impact Assessment) notification and in 75 leases extraction of ore has been done after January 27, 1994.