Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, Oct 21:
The Odisha government today decided to decided to cap iron ore production in the state for 2014-15 at last year’s level of 57 million tonnes (MT).
“The state government has fixed the cap on production of iron ore at 57 MT in 2014-15. While the cap would be 13 million tonne in the Koira sector, it would be 44 million tonne in the Joda sector,” said Director of Mines Deepak Mohanty after a meeting of the state level task force on mining, which met here today under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary GC Pati.
Mohanty said the government would allow 1, 100 truckloads per day to Paradip Port in Odisha in order to avoid traffic congestion during the dispatch of the iron ore. Non-captive mines, however, will be allowed to dispatch their balance stock to sail through the port this year, he said.
The government had imposed restrictions on dispatch of previous year’s stocks of iron ore till April 2014.
“The miners will be informed about how many tonnes of iron ore they can dispatch this year. We would inform them after fixing the limit for them,” said Mohanty.
As the state cabinet has decided that the Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC) would provide minerals to the industries, which have signed MoUs with the state government for five years, the meeting decided to ramp up the production of the corporation.
“The meeting decided to increase the production two-fold this year. While the minimum production of OMC would be 5.6 MT this year, it would be 9 MT in 2015-16 and 20 MT in 2016-17. The OMC has been asked to expedite the process of various clearances, including environment and forest clearances, pending at various stages,” said the Mines Director.
The government has also extended the time limit of eight mines, which are presently working with express order, to submit various clearances by November 15. The earlier deadline was October 20, said Mohanty.
In June this year, the state government had passed express orders in respect of eight mines – four held by Tata Steel, three by Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) and the Kurmitar Pahar lease held by OMC. The four Tata mines are Bamebari, Katamati, Joda East and Joda West, while the three SAIL mines are Bolani, Barsuan and Kalta. The government has not taken any decision on the remaining 18 mines.
These eight lessees are yet to furnish compliance on the status of their environment and forest clearances.
In its May 16 interim order, the Supreme Court had called for suspending operations of 26 iron ore and manganese mines awaiting second and subsequent renewal that were operating under the provision of deemed lease extension. These 26 leases were operating without any express orders of renewal passed by the state government.