Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: The State government will spend the penalty collected from leaseholders in 1,000 villages of eight districts, said Mines Minister Prafulla Mallick today.

A total penalty of Rs 8,223 crore will be parked with the Odisha Mineral Bearing Area Development Corporation (OMBADC), a special purpose vehicle, constituted in 2014 by the State government, he added.

While Congress demanded that the money collected as fines should be spent for the benefit of tribals and farmers in the mining-affected districts, BJP alleged that the State exchequer would have received more funds, had it not given leeway to some mining companies.

Niranjan Patnaik, senior Congress leader, stated, "The State government should announce a special package for tribals and farmers of the affected districts."

On the other hand, Samir Mohanty, BJP State vice president questioned as to why the penalty collected is so less when the Central Empowered Committee (CEC), appointed by the apex court to probe illegal mining in the State, had calculated a total penalty of Rs 17,500 crore.

The State government collected the fine from leaseholders as compensation towards illegally extracted iron and manganese ore between 2000-01 and 2010-11.