Illegal mines to get EC only when companies pay penalty : Govt

NEW DELHI, June 3: The Centre will give environment clearance (EC) to regularise illegal mining projects provided the companies pay penalty as directed by the Supreme Court, the environment ministry has said.
The apex court in its August 2, 2017 order had said the mining companies in Odisha operating without EC will have to pay a 100 per cent penalty to the state.
In a latest directive, the ministry has imposed  additional conditions to be complied with by the mining  companies which have applied for EC/Terms of reference (ToRs) to regularise their illegal operations.
Firstly, the mining companies will have to give an  undertaking by way of an affidavit to comply with the apex court order and not repeat violation in future, it said.
Secondly, the ToR/EC will be terminated in case of  violation of the undertaking.
Thirdly, ECs will not be operational till such time the companies comply with all the statutory requirements and the SC judgement.
Lastly, the ministry said the concerned state  governments should ensure that the mining operation should not commence till the entire compensation levied is paid by the project proponent in strict compliance with the SC order.
As per the official data, 42,334 cases of illegal mining were registered across the mineral-bearing states till September of 2016-17 fiscal, of which, Maharashtra registered the highest number of cases at 10,797.
In 2016-17, 96,233 cases of illegal mining were registered, 1,10,476 were registered in 2015-16 and 96,684 were registered in 2014-15, the data showed. (PTI)