Jajpur: Around 1,000 casual labourers are likely to be laid off as two of the major mines of the Industrial Development Corporation of Odisha Ltd (IDCOL) are on the verge of closure, a report said Tuesday.
The matter came out after IDCOL issued notice for closure of its Talangi mine in Kaliapani, while the Roida mine in Keonjhar is battling bankruptcy due to the undue favours shown to a consultancy by a former CMD.
Nepotism, irregularities, undue favours and pilferage have brought the two mines to the brink of closure. The labourers of Talangi mine in Kaliapani Chrome Valley are in panic after the IDCOL served closure notice. According to the notice, the mines will be closed down in November.
The Talangi mine supplies chrome to IDCOL’s ferrochrome plant at Jajpur Road. While the layoff will render 700 to 800 labourers unemployed in Talangi, around 60 officers and staff are likely to be shunted.
Similarly, the IDCOL’s Kalinga Iron Works Ltd plant in Keonjhar district’s Barbil has been lying closed since August, 2015. It had captive mine at Roida-C.
The mine has been pushed to bankruptcy by irregularities in the sale of iron ore. Social activists and trade union leaders held former CMD Prasant Kumar Nayak responsible for the bankruptcy due to the undue favours shown to consultancy agency PK Urs.
The Shah Commission probing the irregularities in various mines under the jurisdiction of deputy director of mines, Joda, in Keonjhar district had directed Roida-C mine to pay a penalty of Rs 105 crore. The Roida-C mine was closed down on the midnight of December 31, 2017 after the authorities failed to pay the penalty fixed by the Shah Commission.
The mine again became operational February 6, 2018. Former CMD Nayak and MD Sapan Kumar Das of Kalinga Iron Works showed undue favours to M/s PK Urs and released Rs 62 lakh to it when the mine was closed. This was done without the permission of the Advocate General and the IDC board.
The CMD released Rs 12 lakh for labour payment, a fortnight before his retirement. However, the release of Rs 50 lakh for machine charges a day before his retirement when the mine was not in operation has kicked up a row. It is alleged that iron ore lumps were sold from Roida-C mine for kickbacks.
There are allegations that a crusher at Kalinga plant was not being put into use for processing iron ore, and that every month around 20,000 to 40,000 tonnes of iron ore were being sold at throwaway prices.
Labour leaders said if this continues the mine will have to be ultimately closed down, and that will render 50 officials and 300 labourers jobless.
CMD Santosh Kumar had cracked down on the illegal sale of lumps and had punished former MD MD Ashok Kumar Mishra for the irregularities. The crackdown stopped the illegal sale of lumps, but it started again after the change of guard.
Trade union leader Dushmant Rout demanded CMD-cum-Additional Secretary Suresh Mohaptra’s intervention in this matter. Attempts to contact MD Sapan Kumar Das of Kalinga Iron Works failed as he did not pick up the phone.