Bhubaneswar: Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) today permitted Indian Metals and Ferro Alloys (IMFA), the leading ferroalloys producer in the country, to resume mining activities in its two chromite mines in Sukinda and Mahagiri.
OSPCB had earlier, on March 24, served a show cause notice to IMFA and asked to explain why the 'consent to operate' (CTO) granted to the mines in the areas be not withdrawn because of violation of pollution control norms.
After not getting any reply from the company, the pollution watchdog withdrew the CTO following which mining operations came to a standstill at the two sites from April 11.
Challenging the pollution board's withdrawal of CTO, IMFA moved Orissa High Court. The Court then ordered OSPCB to submit details of the steps in the matter.
On the other hand, IMFA replied to the show cause notice served by OSPCB asserting that the company has not violated any pollution norms and taken all remedial measures at the two sites in compliance with the OSPCB norms.
A team of the pollution control board then carried out inspection at the chromite mines of IMFA from June 3 to 6 and expressed satisfaction over the steps taken by the company and granted CTO to the ferro alloys producer.
Earlier, hundreds of workers staged a dharna in front of the plant of IMFA at Choudwar in Cuttack protesting the order of the OSPCB to ban mining at the Mahagiri and Sukinda Chromite mines.
It is worth mentioning that IMFA is India's largest fully-integrated producer of ferroalloys. As per Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2015, the mining lease at Sukinda and Mahagiri are valid until 2049 and 2055 respectively.