Jajpur: The state pollution control board (SPCB) has revoked the enhanced environmental clearance (EC) limit to the Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC) for mining of iron ore from Daitari mines in Keonjhar district to 50 per cent over the latter’s failure in complying with certain rules, sources informed Sunday. The SPCB has revoked OMC’s environmental clearance from six million tonne per annum (MTPA) to three MTPA, in its order dated July 11, 2022. Since then, OMC is extracting iron ore only 50 per cent of its total capacity and is suffering huge losses. Various mining firms including OMC have taken leases of mines and are extracting iron ore.
However, the Odisha government is allegedly facing a severe loss of revenues as some of the mining firms do not comply with the norms and rules and regulations. Most of these companies are allegedly guilty of extracting iron ore than the amount permissible. As it did not receive the environmental clear, OMC was forced to decrease its extraction to 50 per cent of its capacity. Since July 2022, iron ore prices have gone up by 27 per cent. As it is not being able to extract its full capacity from the Daitari mines, the OMC is suffering huge losses. In the process, the Odisha government is also losing out on revenues. Sources said the SPCB had given its consent allowing OMC to enhance production from three MTPA to six MTPA in July, 2021.
However, the permission for mining of an excess of three million tonne has been withdrawn as the OMC failed to fulfill certain conditions and norms. The 50 per cent reduction in production capacity has hit the functioning of various industrial firms dependent on iron ore supplied by the OMC. It is time for OMC to get back in the game by abiding by the rules so that it gets permission to extract six million tonne annually. If it doesn’t do so, many, including the Odisha government will suffer losses. When contacted, Bibhuti Behera, deputy director, of the Mines department in Jajpur confirmed that the production capacity of OMC has been reduced to three MTPA due to environmental clearance. A similar situation exists in the chromite mines under Sukinda block in Jajpur district.
Several chromite mines belonging to companies like Balasore Alloys, Jindal, Kalrangi, and Kalrangiatta are lying closed for the past few years. As a result, over 5,000 people earning their livelihood from these mines have been rendered jobless. Unable to find a job in Odisha, these people have migrated to other states. It is claimed that mining started in Sukinda region in 1946. However, no one has the answer as to how much chromite has been extracted from these mines. Also, no one is aware of the amount that still can be extracted
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