ROURKELA: The transfer of administrative control of SAIL’s iron ore mines in Odisha to Rourkela Steel Plant (RSP) has led to operational efficiency and gradual production growth.On June 10, the SAIL’s Board of Directors had abolished the Raw Materials Division (RMD) which controlled the mines from its headquarters at Kolkata. The RMD was annually consuming above `50 crore. Ignoring protests at Kolkata over shifting of the RMD headquarters, SAIL transferred Kalta, Barsuan and Taldihi mines in Sundargarh district and Bolani mines in Keonjhar to RSP’s control. Similarly, Chria, Megatburu, Kiriburu and Gua iron mines in West Singhbhum district of Jharkhand went to the control of Bokaro Steel Plant.
A new entity, Odisha Group of Mines, under RSP is performing the responsibilities of the dissolved RMD and the results have been encouraging so far. Sources said apart from increase in operational efficiency, RSP is able to get its choice of ores on priority while catering to the need of other integrated steel plants of SAIL.
Incidentally, the target of Bolani mines for the current year is 8.5 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) against the last year’s achievement of 6.24 MTPA. Current year production target from Barsuan is three MTPA against the last year’s production of 2.25 MTPA while Kalta mines are expected to produce 2.5 MTPA. The Taldihi mines have been given a target of one MTPA against last year’s performance of 1,85,282 tonne.
President of BMS-affiliated Rourkela Ispat Karkhana Karmachari Sangh (RIKKS) Himanshu Sekhar Bal said the immediate benefits of this move by SAIL are faster administrative decision relating to mines operations and employees besides an increase in operational efficiency. Regular monitoring of mines would also enhance production and SAIL stands to make more financial gain from surplus sale of iron ores.
However, operational problems of SAIL mines in Jharkhand under Bokaro Steel Plant still persist due to the distance factor and poor communication. Former general secretary of Steel Executives’ Federation of India (SEFI) Bimal Bisi said SAIL should have listened to SEFI’s demand of bringing all mines under RSP due to its close proximity with mines in Odisha and Jharkhand. With the Bokaro plant located 300-400 km away from Jharkhand mines, operational problems continue to persist, he added.