Demand for pre-emption right increases to save Odisha's small iron and steel industries
Attributing the scarcity and surging price to diversion of iron ore from Odisha to other states, industry associations said the livelihood of lakhs of people engaged in the steel sector is at stake.
BHUBANESWAR: Faced with soaring prices of iron ore and its shortage, the Utkal Chamber of Commerce and Industry (UCCI) and Orissa Sponge Iron Manufacturers' Association (OSIMA) have jointly appealed the State government to save the small and medium iron and steel industries from closure by invoking the right of pre-emption to ensure steady supply of raw material.
Attributing the scarcity and surging price to diversion of iron ore from Odisha to other states, the two industry associations said the livelihood of lakhs of people engaged in the steel manufacturing sector is at stake.
In a joint appeal to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, UCCI and OSMIA said that 60 per cent iron ore is diverted outside the State despite protest from local industries.
“When stand-alone steel industries in the State are languishing for scarcity of iron ore, merchant mines are profiteering as iron ore prices skyrocket in Odisha. Several sponge units have been closed due the scarcity of iron ore and thousands of jobs are in peril,” the joint appeal said. President of Odisha Sponge Iron Manufacturing Association Yogesh Dalmia said the State government has the right to invoke pre-emption as ownership of minerals is vested with the State. “Only pre-emption can save the industries by doing real value addition and generate more revenue for the State and employment for local youths,” he added.
Dalmia said there are around 100 small and big plants in Odisha. “We request the Chief Minister to direct the mines’ owners to supply 50 per cent of their production to stand-alone mineral-based industries in the State and sell the remaining 50 per cent outside Odisha.” UCCI president Brahma Mishra said that the State government had earlier defended the pre-emption policy where the mines owners in the State had to reserve 50 per cent of their raw materials for State-based plants.