Odisha fails to retrieve ₹456 cr towards excess mining; CAG

Excess iron ore excavation was found in the year 2018-19

The Odisha Government failed to retrieve ₹456.46 crore towards cost of excess iron ore excavated in different mining circles, finds Comptroller and Auditor General of India.

The CAG report on revenue sector for the year ended March 2020, which was tabled in Odisha Assembly on Friday, says excess iron ore excavation was found to be in tune of 8,20,797 metric tonne.

“The production limit capped in the mining plan is among other stipulations which need to be adhered to by the mining lease holders. As per Rule 22 (5) (v) of the Mineral Concession Rules, 1960, the mining plan shall incorporate a tentative scheme of mining and annual programme and plan for excavation from year to year for five years,” CAG report points out.

The sub-section (5) of Section 21 of the Mines and Mineral (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 provides that whenever any person raises, without any lawful authority, any mineral from any land, the State Government may recover from such person the minerals so raised.

The CAG had conducted audit check of records for the year 2018-19, production and dispatch statements and monthly returns along with the approved mining plan in 11 out of 14 mining circle offices.

As per the approved mining plan, the production limit of Run of Mines (ROM) was fixed at 37,99,923 MT comprising iron ore at 29,66,333 MT and mineral rejects at 8,33,590 MT.

“However, as verified from the production details from monthly returns, the lessees produced iron ore of 37,87,130 MT and nil quantity of rejects during the year 2018-19. Comparing it with the corresponding figure in the approved mining plan, audit observed that there was an excess production of 8,20,797 MT (37,87,130 MT less – 29,66,333 MT) of iron ore,” the CAG points out.

“As such, the excess production was unlawful for which, the cost of such ore amounting to ₹456.46 crore was to be realised from the lessee. The cost has been calculated taking into account the average sale price of iron ore of ₹5561.17 per MT as published by IBM (from April 2018 to March 2019),” the apex audit agency says.

“The Joint Director of Mines (JDM) neither recovered the excess ore produced nor realised the cost price. Since, such a large amount of revenue has been overlooked, responsibility may be fixed for the unrealised amount and the lapse,” CAG recommends.

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