Tata Steel allowed to operate four mines

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government has allowed Tata Steel to operate its four iron ore mines in the state till January 28 as per an interim order of the Orissa High Court.

“We have issued permission to Tata Steel to resume operations at its four mines in view of the high court order.

The state government will take the final decision on the matter basing on the judgement of the high court on January 28,” Deepak Kumar Mohanty, Director of Mines, told PTI.

Earlier, the state government had ordered Tata Steel to stop operations at four mines– Bamebari, Katamati, Joda East and Joda West– after the steel major failed to meet the November 15 deadline for forest and environment clearances.

Tata Steel moved the high court and argued that its mines should not be shut as they were captive ones and suspension of work will lead to unemployment of a large number of workers, mostly tribals.

Tata Steel’s six iron ore mines were among the 26 mines which were asked to suspend mining operations in view of a Supreme Court order on May 16 this year.

In its May 16 interim order, the apex court had called for suspending operations of 26 iron ore and manganese mines in Odisha that were operating under the provisions of deemed extension.

The Supreme Court had held that such mines could not continue operations until the Odisha government passed express orders under relevant laws.

The state government issued express order allowing operations till January 28.