Bhubaneswar: The convener of Stee & Mines Committee of Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) State Council, Manish Kharbanda, Thursday said that the State government should take concrete steps to avoid disruption of mineral productions and short supply of raw materials to the user industries. He suggested that the government should take care that the existing statutory clearances be transferred to successful bidders in the auction of iron ore and other mines.

Kharbanda said, even though the state government has promised to complete mining auction process on time to ensure uninterrupted supply of iron ore and other minerals, tender document of 20 operating iron ore and manganese mines put for auction leaves ambiguity on transfer of clearances, valuation of stocks and mine infrastructure and continuity of employment of people engaged.

Stating that the timeline prescribed for obtaining clearances is 2.6 years from LOI and 2 years to resume production as per the tender document, he said that this would result in huge demand-supply imbalance for a long time.

Both the state and central governments should ensure smooth transition of forest clearance (FC) and environmental clearance (EC) post-mineral block auction process, he said.

Kharbanda, while addressing a presser after the end of the two day conclave of the mineral based industries, organised by CII, here on Thursday, said as per the MMDR Amendment in 2015, the leases which have completed period of 50 years or more will lapse on March 31, 2020 and in Odisha 21 operating iron ore mines with capacity of 80 mtpa are lapsing that day.

He said the balance 45 mtpa mine capacity operating beyond 2020 will not be sufficient to meet the domestic requirement and production in industries will be hit hard unless pro-active actions are taken by the government.

India produces 150 million tonnes of low-grade minerals out of which 80 million tonne is produced only in Odisha.

The ICC convenor said the ICC viewed that logistics cost in Odisha is very high in range of 25 per cent to 30 per cent. Transport tariff for steel and steel-related products should be reduced and government can help by holding talks with various stakeholders to improve this which directly help in making domestic industries cost-competitive.

The ICC Odisha State Council chairman MC Thomas and co-chairman JB Pany also addressed the presser.