By Bizodisha Bureau, Bhubaneswar, January 1, 2018: Odisha government on Monday suspended mining operations in seven mines for failing to pay penalty by deadline Dec 31, 2017.

The action follows direction by the Supreme Court on August 2 asking the state government to collect 100 per cent of the value of minerals extracted without forest and environment clearances, beyond the permitted area and in excess of what had been allowed.

The mines that were served the closure notice included Serajuddin’s Balda block iron mines, Mid East International Steel Ltd’s Mesco Roida mines, IDC’s Roida mines, Corp Resources’ Tantra mines, National Enterprises’ Raikila mines, Essel Mining’s Koida mines and OMM’s Patakada mines.

The state government will submit the status report to the apex court on January 4. The next hearing of the case in the Supreme Court has been fixed on January 17.

“The working mines those have failed to pay the penalty have been suspended from today. We will collect the fine amount from the non working mines as per the law after filing lawsuit against them”, said Odisha mines Minister Prafulla Mallick.

The Supreme Court has been monitoring the illegal operations. The further course of action will be decided after January 17 hearing, he added.

Out of total 131 mine leaseholders those were asked to pay penalty, 72 defaulters including 31 functional mines met the deadline set by the apex court by paying the fine amount.

The state government collected a total of Rs 8,223 crore from the miners by end of 2017 as penalty.