Panel seeks time to give report on linkage policy

The inter-ministerial committee on ore  linkage to industries within the State on a sustainable manner will request the State Government for more time to submit its report. The three-member committee, headed by Finance Minister Prasanna Acharya, on Wednesday decided to take time in view of the recent judgment of the Supreme Court on illegal mining in Karnataka.

 ‘’The committee requires one more month to study the Supreme Court ruling with regard to the illegal mining cases in Karnataka,’’ Acharya told mediapersons after the meeting at the State secretariat here.

 The Finance Minister said the committee’s report is almost ready. The inter-ministerial panel was supposed to submit its report by April 30.

Besides, the committee will also look into the apex court’s judgment on the proposed bauxite mining at Niyamgiri hills, said Steel and Mines Minister R K Singh, also a member of the committee.

 ‘’The committee feels that some of the provisions of  the Supreme Court judgment on Karnataka mining activities may be applicable to other States also and the need to formulate a policy which will not be challenged in the court of law in future,’’ Singh said.

 Singh admitted that the local industries were facing raw material scarcity as the mine owners sale minerals to industries in other places or go for export.

 Meanwhile, the ministerial committee had interactions with all the stakeholders, including representatives of steel companies like Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL), Visa Steel and Bhushan Steel, aluminium major Vedanta, industries associations and mines owners.

 With local industries facing raw material scarcity, the Steel and Mines department, through a resolution dated December 5, 2012, made it mandatory for mine lessees without end-use plants, to sell at least 50 per cent of their extracted iron ore to state-based consuming industries. However, the State Government resolution was rejected by the Centre.

 Though there is a demand from different quarters, including political parties, for selling ore to the industries through State-run Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC) at market price, the PSU is seriously handicapped to operate its mines. The State Government has failed to keep its commitment to provide captive mines to the MoU-signed mineral-based industries.

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