Hand over Tangarpada Chromite mines to OMC-Congress

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Bhubaneswar,Feb 05 (UNI) Leader of Opposition in Orissa Assembly J B Pattnaik today demanded that the Tangarapada Chromite Mine be handed over to the state run Orissa Mining Corporation(OMC) for the greater interest of the state.

In a statement here Mr.Pattnaik said since the OMC has the technical expertise and was in the chromite business earning profit, other industrial houses keen to set up their plants in the state should procure the chrome ore from the OMC at the market rate.

The former Orissa Chief Minister said there was no need to go for a joint venture project for the development of the Tangarpada chromite mine and held the Naveen Patnaik government fully responsible for going against the interest of the state in leasing out the valuable Tangarpada mine to Jindal strips Limited.

Mr.Pattnaik said before the government invited a fresh tender for leasing out of the Tangarpada mine,it should take a decision to handover the mines to the OMC.

The senior congress leader's remark came in the wake of the yesterday's judgment of the Apex Court,asking the state government to go for fresh technical and financial bids for the Tangarpada mine in the best interest of the state.

He said the Apex court has upheld the High Court judgment which while rejecting the government decison to hand over the mine to Jindal Strips,had called for a fresh tender.

The Apex court,Mr.Pattnaik said had ruled that the technical bids of the Tata Steel and the Visa Steel should be treated as valid along with the Jindal Strips.

MORE UNI DP The Leader of Opposition alleged that the for the name sake the state owned IDCOL has entered into a joint venture with the Jindal Strips for the development of Tangarpada mine in which the Jindal strips had a stake of 89 pet cent and the IDCOL 11 per cent.

This clearly indicated that the Tangarpada mine was virtually handed over to the Jindal strips by the Naveen Patnbaik government sacrificing the interest of the state.

He further questioned that how could the approval for the joint venture for the Tangarpada project was obtained without the matter being referred to the Project Approval Committee.

The proposal was submitted by the IDCOL chairman on January 15,2003 and got the approval hurriedly within three days on January 18,2003, Mr.Pattnaik alleged.

Mr.Pattnaik said even the CAG had also pointed out irregularities in the leasing out of the Tangarpada mine and submitted a report criticising the role of the IDCOL in the matter.

The Tata Steel and the Visa Steel had challenged the government decision to handover the Tangarpada mine to Jindal Strips in the Orissa High Court which had set aside the decision of the government and made certain observation against the state government officials for entering into favouritism and malafide intention by selecting the Jindal Strips.

The state government and the Jindal Strips later moved for an appeal before the Apex court against the judgment of the High Court.A division bench of the Supreme court comprising Justice Arjit Pasayat and Justice P.Sathsivam, yesterday quashed the allegation of favouritism and malafide intention of the officials in the deal.

The bench however, ordered that the technical bids of all the three parties as valid and directed the state government to negotiate with the parties in the greater interest of the state.

UNI DP AB 2208

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