Odisha mining auction

Kasia Mines in Barbil yet to start operation, govt losing Rs 15 Cr daily

Keonjhar/Bhubaneswar: JSPL won the Kasia Iron & Dolomite block in the Keonjhar district of Odisha at a 118% premium, in the recent mines auction conducted by the State Government.

After the deposit of the required upfront payment, performance security and stamp duty, the mining lease deed of this block was executed with the State Government in November. Though it was a working mine, JSPL is struggling to start its operation for the last one month because of a blockade by a handful of people.

A group of about 25-50 persons have been illegally blocking entry to the mines and not allowing entry of any men and machinery of JSPL to the site since last month.

The blockade has prohibited JSPL to enter into the mine and carrying out mining operations as prescribed under sub-section 1 of section 24A of MMDR Act, 1957.

Non-operation of the mine is causing a huge revenue loss to the State Government to the tune of over Rs. 15 crores on daily basis besides loss of livelihood to local people.

The company has already intimated the Keonhar District Administration about the issue and all reasonable endeavours have been made to address the grievance of the local community.

A coordination meeting has been conducted with the local community members and opinion leaders in the presence of the District Administration right on the site. Such initiatives have been appreciated by the local opinion makers and community members. Still, some are inciting few people to continue the blockade and not allowing JSPL to start the operation of the mine.

Kasia Iron & Dolomite was not in operation from 2012 to 2019. It resumed operation for about six months – October 2019 to March 2020, on which the mining lease expired.

After it was allotted to JSPL in the recent auction, the local people were hoping to revive their livelihood with the restart of the mines. However, few vested interests with their illegal blockades have shattered their hope.

The inaction of the State Government officials in removing these groups of motivated individuals even at the loss to State Exchequer to the tune of about Rs.300 crore so far is beyond normal prudence and comprehension.