By Nageshwar Patnaik in Bhubaneswar, December 13, 2017: The Supreme Court on Wednesday stuck to its earlier order on August 2 directing mining entities to pay 100% compensation of the cost of excess production of minerals at market price by the end of this year.

This could lead to collapse of economy in mineral based regions in Odisha bringing n those who are dependent on the sector for survival.

Mining entities in Odisha had gone to the Apex Court to reconsider the compensation amount of Rs 17,576.17 crore and extend the deadline.

The state government had slapped demand notices worth Rs 17,576 crore against 136 iron/manganese ore lessees on the basis of the August 2 Supreme Court order. Incidentally, only 48 mines are currently operational.

It is now crystal clear that if the lessees do not pay the dues by December 31, mining operations will come to grinding halt. Besides, the closed mines will never get any clearances for further operations.

Recently, the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) appointed by the Supreme Court had asked Odisha government to assess the undisposed stock of iron/manganese ore lying at various mining yards.

However, the CEC recommendation about undisposed stock of iron/manganese ore was confined to with only 32 lessees. “The state government would conduct field verification to know the status of the undisposed stock of ore and issue revised demand notices. Rest lessees have to pay the amount according to the court order,” mining officials said.

Interestingly, not a single lessee has paid its due to the state government according to the court order. Most of the mining entities would not be able to pay such a heft amount by the end of the year.

“Our last hope was a favourable order from the Apex court, but now with the Apex court refusing even to relax on payment of the compensation, the miners have to pay the dues. But it would be difficult for the mining entities to arrange such a hefty amount. Several mines now face closure,” Prabodh Mohanty, general secretary of the Eastern Zonal Mining Association on Wednesday told Bizodisha.com.