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SAIL bosses meet CM

Ranchi, Aug. 7: Two senior officials of Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) met chief minister Hemant Soren today to end an impending lease deadlock on four mines, ore from which is used in its steel plants, including one in Bokaro.

SAIL director (technical) S.S. Mohanty and director (raw materials and logistics) K. Maity met Hemant, seeking his intervention to extend mining leases at Kiriburu, Meghataburu, Gua and Chiria, failing which production would be hampered at the PSU’s plants in Odisha (Rourkela), Bengal (Durgapur, Burnpur) and Jharkhand (Bokaro).

Since the original leases on all the mines had expired years ago, SAIL sources explained, these were being operated on deemed extensions.

Gua, they pointed out, would be the first mine to cease functioning as its forest clearance would expire on August 13.

“The officials requested the chief minister to grant lease extensions for all the mines. All the steel plants of SAIL in eastern India will suffer if raw material supply gets hampered,” said a SAIL spokesperson.

The Centre had granted forest clearances on the expectation that Jharkhand would extend the leases on the mines. With Gua’s clearance set to expire next week and the others within the next few months, SAIL fears the Centre would hold on to the forest clearance till the state granted extension.

In case of the Rourkela Steel Plant, Supreme Court has ruled that as an interim measure, the 26 leases operating on second and subsequent renewals without the Odisha government’s nod (deemed extension), would not be allowed to operate.

In West Singhbhum, there are 42 leases for iron ore mining. Of these, 17 are captive mine leases, used for steel production by SAIL and Tata Steel, among others.

The remaining 25 are for non-captive mines held by smaller companies.