Par panel to Mines Min: Take up NALCO lease issue with Odisha

New Delhi: Expressing dismay over delays in NALCO's expansion plans mainly due to failure in getting leases for bauxite and coal mining in Odisha, a Parliamentary panel has asked the Mines Ministry to take up the matter "seriously" with the state government.

"The Committee is dismayed to find that the coal block, which was alloted by the government to NALCO in 2004 to meet its coal requirement of new power units has still made no headway," the Standing Committee on Coal and Steel has said in its recent report tabled in Lok Sabha.

Land acquisition, construction of rehabilitation and resettlement colony and project execution are yet to take place, the Committee, chaired by Kalyan Banerjee said, asking the Ministry to "seriously take up the matter with the authorities concerned for removing the obstacles which the project has been facing."

The Committee said it had asked Ministry to take necessary measures for commissioning of the project at the earliest but it is still facing many roadblocks.

"Although an investment of Rs 198 crore out of the total project cost of Rs 337 crore has been proposed for Utkal E case project during 2012-13, the project is languishing for want of various clearances from the concerned state government," it said.

Utkal E block, with 67.4 MT reserves of coal was alloted to the company by the Coal Ministry in 2004 but the same could not be developed for want of land.

This, along with difficulties in acquiring mining lease for Pottangi bauxite deposit has made NALCO put on hold sizeable investment plans for expansion as existing reserves will only last for about a decade.

The committee last year had directed the aluminium maker to "come up with attractive compensation packages (for land acquisition) and proper implementation of rehabilitation and resettlement policy so that the grievances of project affected people are addressed".