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Bhilai Steel denies involvement in mines deal

Written by: Staff
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Bhilai, Apr 3 (UNI) Amid controversy over allotment of iron ore mines to private companies in Chhattisgarh, Bhilai Steel Plant today denied the state government's claim that the public sector unit had granted a no-objection certificate for de-reserving the Rowghat mines.

''We have not given any NOC. Do you think that anyone will do so when such a profit-making plant needs raw material for its expansion?'' BSP Managing Director R P Singh told mediapersons here.

When his attention was drawn to Chief Minister Dr Raman Singh's contention that the iron ore block was de-reserved with BSP's consent, he quipped ''We don't know. Our position is that we have not granted any NOC''.

Pointing out that the BSP was aware that Rowghat iron ore mines were reserved for the public sector way back in 1961 through a government notification, Mr Singh said it was the 'prerogative' of the state government to allot the mines to anyone.

''The government can reserve it for anybody and can cancel it later,'' he added.

Admitting that the raw materials at its captive mines was fast depleting, the BSP Managing Director said BSP had been making efforts for a long time to get forest and environment clearance and mining lease at Rowghat.

''If we don't get Rowghat mines, we will be left with no other option but to import iron ore or to scale down production,'' Mr Singh said, adding that there were many steel plants in the world which imports raw materials from other countries.

Bhilai Steel Plant was in the midst of a controversy after a block of iron ore mines at Rowghat was de-reserved and allotted to a private company. The public sector unit drew flak from opposition Congress leaders for not taking effective steps to prevent de-reservation of iron ore blocks and its allottment to private companies.

Meanwhile, Congress Legislature Party deputy leader Bhupesh Baghel, who had raised the issue during the Budget Session of the Vidhan Sabha, reiterated his demand for an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the whole matter.

Since the state government and the BSP are contradicting each other, he said the entire deal of de-reservation and allottment of iron ore block to the private company has come under a cloud, necessitating a detailed inquiry into the matter.

UNI JJ SP SS BD1725

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