Chhattisgarh government puts NMDC’s new iron ore project on hold after tribals protest

The government has directed the Dantewada district collector to probe the complaint on the alleged “fake” Gram Sabha held in 2014 at Hiroli village giving clearance to the project.

Published: 11th June 2019 11:41 PM  |   Last Updated: 11th June 2019 11:41 PM   |  A+A-

Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel

Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel (File Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

RAIPUR: The Chhattisgarh government on Tuesday halted the Bailadila iron-ore Deposit no-13 work after thousands of tribal held protest against the project at state-run National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) in the Dantewada district, Raipur. 

According to the official statement, the state government has issued an order to stall the activities related to the project in Bailadila deposit no 13 immediately. Besides, the government has directed the Dantewada district collector to probe the complaint on the alleged “fake” Gram Sabha held in 2014 at Hiroli village giving clearance to the project. On the directive of the chief minister Bhupesh Baghel, there will also be an investigation on the reported deforestation of the affected area to be carried out by a 3-member team headed by the additional principal chief conservator of forest.

The decision was taken following the Congress MP from Bastar Deepak Baij, who met the villagers earlier, led a delegation from Bastar to apprise the chief minister about the issue at the state secretariat on Tuesday.

“The state government will deliver its role whatever remains within its jurisdiction in the given context, though the ownership lies with the authority lies with the NMDC — a central public sector unit”, said the chief minister after listening to their grievances related to the Bailadila project.

The mine capacity on 10 Metric Tonnes Per Annum (MTPA) has been facing the protest by tribals who claimed the given deposit is the centre of their faith with deity Nandraj Dev’s divine presence in the region. Following this the region witnessed an escalated political blame game over the allocation of the mining project, which is yet to be taken up by Adani Enterprise Limited (AEL) at mining contractor. 

“AEL has been appointed as 'Mining Contractor' though transparent tender procedure which was appointed as 'Mining Contractor'”, the NMDC affirmed.

To commence mining activities at Bailadila, the central public sector unit (PSU) NMDC and the state PSU Chhattisgarh Mineral Development Corporation Ltd (CMDC) formed a joint venture in 2008.

NMDC conducted Gram Sabhas between 2010 to 2014, availed environment clearance in 2015 and forest clearance in January 2017.

Subsequently, in 2017, the mining lease was transferred to the government-owned joint venture company NMDC-CMDC Ltd (NCL). In January 2018 there was global competitive bid for development and operation of Bailadila iron ore Deposit no-13 in which the AEL qualified on the basis of prescribed technical and financial qualification requirements. “NCL owns these mines and AEL only provides the support as an experienced and responsible Mining Contractor. Adani Group strongly believes in ‘Growth with Goodness”, said the Adani Group spokesperson. 

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