The State Government is worried over inordinate delay in grant of forest and environmental and exploration clearances for some of the major mines of the Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC).
The OMC is regularly applying for forest and environmental clearances for its iron ore and chromite mines. But there is inordinate delay in receiving such clearances from the Union Government. Take for example though the OMC has requested the Union Government for environmental clearances for its South Kaliapani chromite mines since 2015; however, the Gold Category State PSU is yet to receive such clearance from the Government of India.
The OMC has been growing steadily over these years and today it stands as the largest State PSU in the mining sector of the country. In fact, it recorded the highest ever turnover of Rs 2,850 crore in Financial Year 2017-18.
The revenue generated from operation of mines of OMC is one of the potential sources for the State exchequer. However obtaining of forest and environmental clearance from the Government of India has turned to be a Herculean Task as for years together it is pending with the Centre, pointed out a senior official. Due to such inordinate delays, productions from these mines are halted and harming the interest of the State, admit officials. Prolonged delay in obtaining amendment of environmental clearance pertaining to South Kaliapani mines is eroding its production target.
The OMC submitted the proposal on May 5, 2015 for amendment of EC due to change in tailing pond location within the mining lease area. The proposal was approved by the Environment Appraisal Committee (EAC) after due scrutiny on July 21, 2016.
Later, a few discrepancies were pointed out by the Union Government and those were complied with by the OMC on May 1, 2017.
The compliance report to the observations of Ministry of Environment and Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has also been forwarded by the Regional Office of the MoEFCC, Bhubaneswar, to the Ministry since September 20, 2017. The OMC later submitted a time bound action plan to the MoEFCC for compliance to EC conditions on November 3, 2017.
After lapse of another year, the OMC is yet to get EC for the major chromite mines, which is the cause of worry for the State Government. Similarly, for the Stage II forest clearance of Kumitar and Tiringpahar iron ore mines, the OMC has applied in time. All documents were presented to the MoEFCC, however, there is delay in granting such clearances. The MoEFCC is considering the clearance proposal for Stage II FC pertaining to both the major iron ore mines since April 2018.
Similarly, exploration proposals of the OMC for Birasal, Baliapadia Mahagiri, Kalarangi and Kaliapani chromite mines are also pending with the MoEFCC.