Deadline for Ministerial Comm on ore extended by 90 days

Bhubaneswar: The state government on Thursday extended the deadline of the ministerial committee set up by it for formulation of a policy for supply of ore to state- based industries by three more months, official sources said.

"The state government has been pleased to allow extension of time by three months for the committee to submit its report to the government," a notification issued by the Steel and Mines department said.

The inter-ministerial committee headed by Finance minister Prasanna Acharya with members Steel and Mines minister R K Singh and Industries minister Niranjan Pujari, had earlier requested the state government for an extension as it failed to submit the report by the end of January.

Though the panel was mandated to submit its report by January 30, exactly three months after the notification dated October 30 last year, it was yet to finalise the report.

The state government had set up the committee because of growing scarcity of raw materials by local industries, particularly by Vedanta Aluminium Limited.

The aluminium major had shut down its 1 mtpa capacity refinery at Lanjigarh in Kalahandi district due to scarcity of bauxite though the state had an adequate quantity.

Asked about the reason for delay in submitting the report, Acharya said, "The panel will study the ore supply policy of the National Mineral Development Corporation and mineral rich states like Karnataka to frame a policy that suits Odisha's interests".

The committee would suggest measures for making iron ore, manganese, bauxite and chrome ore available to the state's mineral-based industries on a long term basis through state PSU Odisha Mining Corporation and other lessees.

Besides, the committee would suggest modalities for making the ore available on a sustained basis to such industries through appropriate long-term linkage arrangements.

It would also suggest a framework for making the ore available to local industries through a transparent process, Acharya said.

Though the state government signed MoUs with over 90 industries in steel, aluminium and power sectors, many investors faced raw material scarcity.

Of the 50 MoUs in the steel sector, 30 have gone into either partial or full-scale production.

Non-availability of raw materials had affected production of some of these steel industries.