The Odisha government needs to take up the issue of closed iron ore mines with the Centre and ensure their resumption through Ordinance or other means, Jindal Steel & Power Ltd (JSPL) chairman Naveen Jindal said in Bhubaneswar.
“The steel industry is facing difficulties in iron ore supply as iron ore price has gone up by about 100 per cent. The Odisha government should take up the issue with Union government to open and run the closed iron ore mines through ordinance or other means, so that iron ore production increase and its price comes down,” Jindal said.
Closure of iron ore mines in Odisha and the consequent hike in iron ore prices has hurt the steel industry, which is already importing coal and limestone.
If iron ore is to be imported, then the steel industry in Odisha will not survive. Except three steel companies, all others have become insolvent and have gone to NCLT (National Company Law Tribunal). If the price of iron ore is not brought down, it will impact these (the surviving) three companies too”, Jindal said.
“JSPL has invested more than Rs 33,000 crore (Rs 330 billion) at Angul. If we can’t get iron ore at affordable prices, how will the company become competitive and sustain the thousands of jobs that have been created? If iron ore mines become operational, lakhs of people will get employment, the state government will also get royalty and funds will flow in DMF (District Mineral Foundation). So it is very important to make the closed iron ore mines operational as soon as possible”, he added.
Jindal met the Odisha chief secretary A P Padhi and Principal Secretary (Industries) Sanjeev Chopra.
He urged them to set up additional railway rakes for transfer of raw material. “We are not able to run the plant at full capacity because of unavailability of railway rakes. Steps should be taken to make improve railway rakes availability,” he said.
Commenting on the Budget, Jindal said it would be good for agriculture and rural sector. "The social security measure on healthcare is a welcome step. Reduction of corporate tax for companies having a turnover less than (Rs 2.5 billion (Rs 250 crore) is a good step. Spending on infrastructure like road, railway and highways is also a welcome measure. This will increase steel demand”.