The State Government is still not ready with its reply to the queries raised by the Ministry of Mines on grant of iron ore lease to South Korean steel major Posco in Khandadhar hills in Sudargarh district.
The Ministry had asked State Government in last week of July to clarify several aspects, including the impact on environment and forest, if mining activities take place in Khandadhar hills, within two weeks time.
“We are in the process of preparing the reply which will be submitted to the Ministry of Mines soon,” said a senior officer of the Steel and Mines Department.
The Supreme Court in May set aside the Orissa High Court order which had quashed State Government’s recommendation of prospecting licence in favour of Posco for Khandadhar iron ore reserve. The apex court had asked the Centre to consider all the objections raised by various parties proposed plant. The State Government had recommended granting of prospecting licence to Posco in 2006. The Centre had returned the recommendation to the State Government asking it to resubmit the recommendation after hearing all applicants who had applied for same lease.
Accordingly, State Government heard all applicants over a time spanning two and a half years and again recommended Khandadhar iron ore reserve in favour of Posco in 2009. Sources said clarifications to be submitted by Government will be in favour of Posco. Meanwhile, it has announced acquisition of 2,700 acres land for first phase work comprising 8 million tonne capacity. Since the MoU signed by company with State Government has expired, latter is working out for renewal of MoU with modifications.