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 Responding to the demand of Odisha's steel makers for allotment of iron ore under the Pre-emption Scheme, the state government has assured a delegation of the Utkal Chamber of Commerce and Industry to take all steps to safeguard the interests of industries based in the state, the UCCI said on Monday.

The assurance was given by senior officers including industries department principal secretary Hemanta Sharma during a meeting with a delegation of the UCCI and Orissa Sponge Iron Manufacturers' Association (OSIMA).

More than 18 applications seeking allotment of iron ore under the state's Pre-emption Scheme have been pending before the Odisha government for more than three months. The industries urged the state government for early allotment of iron ore under the scheme.

According to the Pre-emption policy, at least 50 per cent of iron ore produced in Odisha is required to be reserved for allocation to the state-based industries and supplied at the prevailing price set by the Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM).

"There is no reason of delay in favourable disposition of the government of the 18 applications of the steel makers requesting for allocation of iron ore under the scheme," UCCI President Brahma Mishra said in the statement.

After giving a patient hearing, the Principal Secretary (Industry) Sharma told the delegation that the State government would provide all possible assistance to the investments in steel sector in the state, it said.

Mishra said it is expected that the allotment will be made very soon.

"However, if no allotment is given within a week, then we will be left with no choice but to increase our efforts to protect the interest of Odisha-based steel industries. This is a matter of survival for Odisha's Steel industry, Odisha's economy and for lakhs of people who earn their livelihood from Steel industries in the State," he said.

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