Public interest litigation seeks scrapping of Tata Steel’s iron ore mining rights in Odisha
A public interest litigation (PIL) was moved in the Odisha high court requesting Tata Steel Ltd be stripped of its additional iron ore mining rights in the state on the grounds that it violates the provisions under the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 (MMDR). According to the PIL document, seen by Mint, out of the 56 sq.km of mining lease area held by steel companies for captive use in Odisha, Tata Steel has six iron ore and manganese mines totaling 49.61 sq.km. This, it said, violates Section 6 of the MMDR Act, which mandates an upper limit of 10 sq.km of mining leaseholds that can be allotted to a single company in a state.
A Tata Steel spokesperson said: “As the matter is sub judice we have no comments to offer.” Tata Steel operates a 3 million tonne per annum (mtpa) plant at Kalinganagar and had recently acquired the 5.6 mtpa capacity plant of Bhushan Steel from the bankruptcy court. It is expanding capacity at the Kalinganagar plant to 8 mtpa, which is expected to be completed by 2020.