Sajjan Jindal, Chairman and Managing Director, JSW Group, has urged the government to allow public sector companies to take over production at seven iron ore mines in Odisha that have defaulted on penalty payment levied by the Supreme Court for breaching their production limit.
In a tweet tagging the Steel Ministry, Jindal suggested that the Ministry should approach the Supreme Court to seek permission to operate these mines by PSUs until a final decision on the fate of these leases is taken.
This will also solve loss of employment and ensure iron ore supply at competitive price, and hence, affordable steel.
The suspension of production from December by the seven mines will lead to short supply of 20 million tonnes annually and has already pushed up iron ore prices dramatically.
The government must approach the Supreme Court considering that iron ore shortage of 20 million tonnes per annum in the country will lead to a disastrous situation wherein all small companies will be forced to shut operations, said Jindal in another tweet tagging Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union Minister for Law and Justice and Electronics and Information Technology.
Jindal insisted that instead of stopping iron ore production in Odisha due to non-payment of penalty, a new solution should be worked out by the government. Last August, the Supreme Court ordered lease holders of iron and manganese mines to deposit their penalty for overproduction between 2000 and 2011 with the State government before December-end.
About 10 mining companies, including state-owned Odisha Mining Corporation paid about ₹5,000 crore.
However, leaseholders of another 147 mines failed to pay the cumulative penalty of ₹17,576 crore. Currently, of the 147 mines, only 54 are operational.
People are losing jobs, the government is losing royalty and revenue, while the steel industry is losing iron ore. It is helping nobody, he said tagging the Prime Minister’s Office.
Source: The Hindu Business Line