CII Seeks Preference for Odisha Steel Mills for Iron Ore Supply
The Pioneer reported that Confederation of Indian Industry Odisha has sought reinstating pre-emption of iron ore for Odisha based end-use plants from the Steel and Mines Department. In a letter to Principal Secretary, Steel and Mines Mr Surendra Kumar, CII Odisha State Council chairman Mr Manish Kharbanda urged a policy for permanent pre-emption of mineral as per need for State based plants. The CII said in recent times the state based iron and steel industries have been facing huge challenges due to low production of iron ore, rampant inter-state dispatches of ore and exponential increase in iron ore prices.
He wrote “The annual iron requirement for the Orissa based steel and iron industry who invested in the State under the promise of iron ore availability is about 112 million tonnes for proper functioning of the plants that generate livelihood of over 10 lakh of natives of Odisha. It is paradoxical that despite Odisha being the largest producer of iron and steel, with 25% share in steel (33 million tonnes), 35% in sponge iron (14 million tonnes) and 33% of iron ore pellets (30 million tonnes), the State based plants are struggling for sustainable supply of iron ore.”
He sought a pre-emption policy in Odisha on line of Karnataka where entire iron ore produced under merchant category is sold to the State based value added plants.
However, a separate report in Orissa Diary said that Jindal Steel & Power Ltd Managing Director of Mr VR Sharma has lauded the innovative and progressive policies of the Odisha Government for protecting the interests of the State based industries. He said “There is an excellent policy on Pre-emption of Iron Ore which was issued by the Government of Odisha, much ahead of time on June 26th, 2014, and further amended on April 16th, 2015. JSPL and other State-based plants have been immensely benefitted from this policy as it’s a simple process to apply to the Director Mines for securing minerals as per the existing pre-emption policy. Presently the Steel industries in Odisha are reeling under severe iron ore crisis and this simple policy of pre-emption can be a saviour provided industries come forward and just follow the simple process laid out by the State Government.”
In the financial year 2021, iron ore production in the State was about 111 million tonnes which was 23% less compared to 145 million tonnes in FY 2020. In terms of Environment Clearance capacity of 182 million tonnes from 43 mines, actual production was only 60%. In this crisis situation, about 46 million tonnes iron ore (84% surge) was exported in FY 2021