Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Sep 30:
Thousands of workers of Indian Metals and Ferro Alloys (IMFA)’s Choudwar and Therubali units in three separate memorandums addressed to the chief minister, chief secretary and development commissioner have urged the Odisha government to take immediate steps for the opening of the Sukinda chromite mines of the company, which has led to acute raw material scarcity in these units.
“Acute shortage of chromite ore has led to closure of several units of the company’s Choudwar and Therubali plants thus putting the bread and butter of the workers in these units at risk,” said the letters.
“For the last few weeks only one out of the three units at the Therubali plant is functioning. Similarly, only one unit out of the three units at the Choudwar plant is functional now.The current stock of raw material can cater to the requirements of the two working units for only 10 to 15 days. After that those units will also go out of operation. We are concerned about our salaries and the future of our families,” the letters signed by the company’s workers’ representatives said.
The memorandum said IMFA’s Sukinda mines have been shut since April this year owing to lack of clearance from Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB).
“Despite state pollution control board officials having inspected the mines thoroughly twice in August and September, we fail to comprehend why OSPCB is not issuing the Consent to Operate certificate. We request your intervention in the matter,” the worker representatives said in the letter.
The company has three furnaces each at Therubali in Rayagada district and at Choudwar near Cuttack with an annual ferrochrome production capacity up to 275,000 tonnes.
As per current mining rules, a miner needs EC (environment clearance), forest clearance, approved mining plan from Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM) and Consent to Operate certificate from state pollution control board to operate a mine.
A miner is barred to carry out mining activity in absence of any one of these clearances.