Orissa slaps a penalty of Rs 23,904 crore on ‘errant miners’

The Orissa steel and mines department has imposed a penalty of Rs 23,904 crore on 27 miners in the mining circle of the mineral-rich Keonjhar district for extraction of ore beyond the permissible limits.

Companies which have been slapped with penalties include Tata Steel, Aditya Birla-owned Essel Mining and the state-owned Orissa Mining Corporation.

Tata Steel has been asked to pay Rs 6,265 crore. Others who have been charged are Essel Mining (Rs 4,530 crore), RP Sao (Rs 3,872 crore), Sarada Mines (Rs 2,845 crore), KJS Ahluwalia (Rs 2,022 crore), Serajuddin & Co (Rs 1,983 crore).

Cabinet backs off RTI amendments

The Cabinet submitted to protests and withdrew a set of amendments it had proposed to the RTI Act.

What were those withdrawn amendments?

There were three amendments which were proposed to be made to the RTI Act:

  • Restrict the disclosure of file notes to social and development issues.
  • Exemption of examination papers and selections to the Union Public Service Commission
  • Disallowing information on ongoing executive decisions.

The RTI Act already exempts ongoing Cabinet decisions from its ambit and extending the exemption to executive decisions would have provided the government virtually immunity to RTI queries.