The Odisha government has sent a show-cause notice to Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL), a subsidiary of Coal India, as to why a Rs 20,169 crore fine should not be imposed for alleged violation of environmental norms and excess mining, a Minister said on Wednesday. “We have sent the show-cause notice to MCL for floating environmental norms, mining plan and consent to operate, including permission granted under the air and water Acts. It has been given 30 days to respond, before the final notice is issued,” Steel and Mines Minister Prafulla Mallick said.

The notice is in compliance with the Supreme Court order of August 2 to levy 100 percent penalty on lessees for violating environment norms and others, he said. “While we have already sent demand notices to iron ore and manganese mines, the state Advocate General has given an opinion in favour of recovering compensation from coal mines as per the Supreme Court verdict,” Mines Director Deepak Mohanty said.

The penalty claims on MCL will increase further as the show-cause notice does not include claims against the company allegedly carrying out mining in forest areas without permission. “Once a detailed report sought from the Forest Department is received, we will send another notice to the company,” said Mohanty. The government has already sent notices totalling Rs 17,576 crore to 152 iron ore and manganese mines for violation of the Environment Protection Act of 1986.

Besides, notices have been issued to lessees to recover about Rs 2,000 core for alleged violations of air and water pollution laws, the Forest Act, and for exceeding mining plans. They have been told to pay up on or before December 31. The Central Empowered Committee of the apex court had said that 2155.11 lakh tonnes of iron and manganese ore were illegally extracted in 10 years since 2000.