Bhubaneswar: The Odisha minister for steel & mines, Prafulla Mallick, Tuesday said that as many as 16 non-coal mines in the state would be put on auction by the end of March 2019. The state government has sought clearances from the Centre for the auction of the mines.

“We are waiting for the Central government clearances”, said the minister.

The state government, meanwhile on December 1 has cancelled six mines as the lessees failed to pay the penalty amount imposed on them for illegal mining.

The minister said, Out of the 31 mining companies those have not paid the penalty money 25 have obtained stay order from the Revisional Authority. So, the lease of six mines for which there was no stay order were cancelled, he added. According to him, the district collectors have been initiating certificate cases against the defaulting lessees.