State

Illegal Mining in Odisha Cost Government Rs. 17,000 Crore: Supreme Court Panel

New Delhi, Oct 18: After Karnataka and Goa, the Odisha government could be rocked by charges of illegal mining. A report by the Central Committee set up by the Supreme Court has found that 187 iron ore and manganese mines in the state are guilty of a host of violations, including mining in violation of environment and forest laws, and the excess mining of ore.

The report, which will be submitted to the Top Court today, rejects claims by the state government that mining in the state was within the law. It also says that this illegal mining has cost the government over 17,000 crore between 2000 and 2011.

The report also says that violator companies include Public Sector Units (PSUs) and prominent corporate figures.

The report says that such illegal mining was done with the consent of state authorities and "the senior officers of the state government cannot escape responsibility for such wholesale and brazen violation of the Acts, Rules and guidelines and the directions of this Court".

"It is most disturbing to note that the entire production without / in excess of the statutory approvals has been transported under the transit permits issued by officers of the state government concerned and that too after payment of royalty at the applicable rates," it said.

The report also points out violation of law on other fronts.

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