By Nageshwar Patnaik in Bhubaneswar, December 27, 2017: Left with no option following the Supreme Court’s tough stance on payment of penalties by December last, mining entities in Odisha have started paying as ordered by the Supreme Court (SC) for overproduction during 2000-11.

Barring a couple of small mining companies, officials expect others to pay the penalties failing which the mining activities would come to a grinding halt. In toto, the companies have to pay about Rs 17,576 crore in compensation for extracting iron and manganese ore beyond the limits approved earlier under environment clearance (EC) rules.

The mining companies had knocked the door of the Apex court seeking extension of the deadline and payment in instalments. But the SC recently refused to have any relaxation of its previous order.

Prabodh Mohanty, general secretary of the Eastern Zonal Mining Association made it clear that all big captive and merchant mining companies would pay the compensation amount to save their leases. “All operational mines are expected to meet the deadline. For mines out of operations, it would be tough for the leaseholders to make timely payment”.

Tata Steel, Rungta Mines and Essel Mining & Industries are understood to have cleared the penalties. The companies have paid Rs 2,000 crore, official sources said adding that the figure would go sharply in the next two days. .

The SC in August 2 last had directed the state government to extract the total cost of excess production from the defaulting miners. Complying with the SC order, the Odisha government issued demand notices for EC violations on 150-odd iron and manganese ore lessees.

The money collected from mining companies will accrue to Odisha Mineral Bearing Areas Development Corporation (OMBADC), tasked with periphery development of mined areas.

State-owned Odisha Mining Corporation is slapped with the highest penalty amount of Rs 2,178 crore, followed by Sharda Mines (Rs 1,983.9 crore), Essel Mining (Rs 1,102 crore), Mesco Steel (Rs 924.7 crore), Orissa Minerals Development Corporation (Rs 642 crore) and Tata Steel (Rs 614 crore).