Odisha Sun Times Bureau:
Cuttack, December 17:
The Odisha government on Tuesday permitted Tata Steel to resume its mining operations at four of its iron ore mines in the state till January 28 following an interim order of the Odisha High Court.
Mining activities were suspended temporarily as the state government had ordered Tata Steel to stop operations at four mines– Bamebari, Katamati, Joda East and Joda West– after the steel major failed to meet the November 15 deadline for obtaining statutory clearances.
“We have issued permission to Tata Steel to resume operations at its four mines in view of the Odisha High Court order. The state government will take the final decision on the matter basing on the judgement of theHigh Court on January 28,” Director of Mines, Deepak Kumar Mohanty said.
Following the mining restrictions by the state government, the steel giant moved the High Court and challenged the government decision as they were captive ones and suspension of work will add to large scale unemployment of workers.
It may be recalled here that the Supreme Court, on May 16, had directed 26 mines that were operating under the provisions of deemed extension to suspend iron ore mining. Tata Steel’s four iron ore mines were among these 26 mines.
The apex court had held that such mines could not continue theirs operations until the state government passed express orders under relevant laws.
The state government had issued express order in June this year allowing operations till January 28. With this, Tata Steel’s four mines, SAIL’s three mines and one mine of Odisha Mining Corporation’s (OMCs) were allowed to operate after having received the express order.
However, these miners were asked to procure requisite clearances for lease renewal within three months’ time. Though, SAIL managed to get the clearances, Tata Steel failed to meet the deadline following which the state government prevented it from mining operations.