Fate of defunct Purunapani mine, proposed cement plant uncertain
Restoration of SAIL’s defunct Purunapani mine and the proposed joint venture (JV) cement plant in the bordering Nuagaon block of Sundargarh continues to remain poll planks with no political party showing sincerity to revive the local economy of the region.Renewing demand for revival of the projects, Birsa Sangram Samiti led by Bidyadhar Deb has said public opinion will be mobilised to boycott the upcoming Assembly and Parliamentary elections.
Sources said after the lease period ended in 2006, the Raw Materials Division of SAIL had applied for renewal of Purunapani and Getitangar mines. Simultaneously, SAIL’s Board of Directors also approved the proposal for a JV cement plant using Blast Furnace (BF) slag of Rourkela Steel Plant (RSP) and fly ash of NTPC-SAIL Power Company Ltd inside RSP. Final bid documents to fix the JV partner was issued in October, 2008.
However, the process was stuck as formal lease agreement with Odisha Government for 752.16 acre of Purunapani mine was not signed for pendency of mining lease renewal. In August 2010, the sub-committee on Strategic Alliance and JV had recommended fresh bidding for the JV. In 2009, the Central Mining Tribunal had restored the Purunapani mine in favour of SAIL but in 2011, rejected application for Getitangar mine. Subsequently, a private corporate entity had challenged the Purunapani mining lease before the Division Bench of the Delhi High Court.
RSP Executives’ Association president and Steel Executives’ Federation of India general secretary Bimal Bisi said since SAIL has returned to profit zone, the Purunapani mine should be restored. SAIL should also seriously consider the cement proposal, he added.