ROURKELA: For the fifth year in a row, Koida Mining Circle (KMC) in Sundargarh district has witnessed a drop in royalty revenue. With hardly three weeks left for the financial year 2017-18 to end, the KMC has so far collected around `650 crore against the target of `980 crore. Koida Deputy Director of Mines (DDM) Salil Behera informed that another `50 crore is likely to be recovered which will take the total to `700 crore. However, the amount would still be 30 per cent less than the target. Behera said if there is a rise in iron ore consumption in steel and iron industries, the royalty revenue would increase.
The process to start operation of a few newly auctioned mines and some closed mines is underway but it will take some time, he added. Dip in mining revenue is also partly attributed to inadequate availability of railway rakes for iron ore transportation with the South Eastern Railway reportedly laying thrust on coal dispatch. Incidentally, mining industry sources are apprehensive about opening of new mines in near future given the harsh regulations, contradictory legal provisions, complexities in getting mandatory clearances and unfriendly bureaucracy. Mining department sources informed that of 77 mines under the KMC, only 23 iron and manganese mines are in operation.
The remaining mines, which lacked statutory clearances, were closed from 2010-11 onwards amid investigation into allegation of illegal mining. On December 31 2017, mines of Essels Mining, OMM, National Enterprises and Korp Resources within KMC limits were closed for failing to pay compensation for illegal mining as directed by the Supreme Court. However, Essels Mining resumed operation from February 16. As per reports, the office of Koida DDM had received over `2,600 crore as compensation from various operating and non-operating mines.
Sources said that as per new guidelines, mining lease of about 35 non-captive mines under KMC, completing 50 years or more by March 2020, would be cancelled and put up for auction. Recently, Essar Steel, Bhusan Power and Bhusan Steel have emerged as successful bidders for three mines in KMC. However, obtaining multiple statutory clearances, execution of lease deeds and starting mineral extraction may take two to three years. Moreover, Pramod Mohanty mine at Raikela and PK Ahluwalia mine at Ganua, which have been closed since 2010-11, are seeking to take permission from the Supreme Court and Consent to Operate certificate from Odisha State Pollution Control Board to resume operation.