Odishatv Bureau

Raygada: Following protests at India Metals and Ferro Alloys (IMFA) plant at Choudwar over ban on the company’s mines in Sukinda valley by Odisha Pollution Control Board (OPCB), employees of the company’s Therubali plant in Rayagada went up in arms today against the pollution watchdog’s order.

Demanding that IMFA should be allowed to undertake mining, the employees staged a dharna in front of the plant.

While hundreds of workers have been affected, as many as 1,500 employees are likely to lose their livelihood following the ban order which has stopped production at the plant.

The employees have submitted a memorandum addressed to the Chief Minister through the sub-collector demanding revocation of the ban.

Since May 19, operations at IMFA’s three plants are completely stalled owing to the mining ban which has snapped the raw material supply to the plants.

“A lot of people here are dependent on the company directly or indirectly. If the company remains closed like this, they will stand to lose their livelihood. Hence we request the State government and the pollution control board to release the mines soon,” said Minaketan Mohanty, an employee of the company.

Citing that there are no other alternatives to restore raw material supply, company officials have expressed hope that they will be able get mining approval.

“Out of the 10 mines ours is of the highest quality and unfortunately we are facing such a problem. The matter is now sub-judice as we have moved the court. We hope that the State government will soon be aware of the problem and grant mining permission,” said IMFA Therubali plant vice president, Ramnath Praharaj.

“The mines were closed after the order of the OPCB and the matter is now in court which will decide what needs to be done. Government will be impartial,” said Odisha Steel and Mines minister, Prafulla Mallick.