Thursday, March 11, 2010

Tata Steel hit by Orissa Govt's blanket mining ban order
Ore loading stopped at Joda East mines.
The Orissa Government's order banning what it feels “illegal” mining by private companies in the State's iron ore-rich Banspani / Jarauli areas has proved too much for Tata Steel.
The order, also promulgating Sec 144 Cr PC, has stopped iron ore loading at the company's Joda East mines, with the result iron movement from the mines to the Jamshedpur plant has remained suspended for the past few days. If the present situation continues, the production at the Jamshedpur plant will be hit, according to company sources.
Tata Steel's Joda East mines on an average load four rakes of iron ore a day, accounting for 40 per cent of the Jamshedpur plant's daily requirement of 10 rakes. An attempt has been made to step up loading at neighbouring Noamundi mines also belonging to the Tata Steel. But the increased loading at Noamundi, it is felt, will not be enough to cover the shortfall. “After all, it is not a switch-on/switch-off kind of thing,” observe sources.
What is particularly causing concern is the not-so-comfortable iron ore stock at the plant. For about a month now, the South Eastern Railway (SER), for whatever reasons, loaded less iron ore to a rake – 3,600 tonnes on an average against the earlier 4,400 tonnes. As a result, the same number of rakes, though moved into the plant, carried much less quantity.
SER had promised to clear the backlog but the promise, it appears, is unlikely to materialise as SER's own loading in Banspani /Jarauli areas too has been hit.
“There is nothing illegal about our mining at Joda East, as the mines are our own, siding is our own and we produce entirely for our captive consumption and we're open to all inspection and verification by any government agency,” says Tata Steel sources.
“But the problem is that those who implement government orders do not differentiate between chalk and cheese”.
Tata Steel, it was informed, had already taken up the matter with the appropriate authorities at every level, both at the Centre and Orissa, but with little success so far.
However, senior officials at the Mines Ministry said they were not aware of the issue and that the Tatas have not approached them as yet.
Meanwhile, the Orissa Government's order has also hit hard SER, which loads eight to 10 rakes of ore every day at Banspani and Jarauli.
“We're trying to make up the shortfall by stepping up loading at other locations such as Barbil, Barajamda and a few other places but the present situation, if persists, will affect our throughput,” a spokesman of SER told Business Line.
Iron ore is the single largest item of traffic for SER, accounting for 65 per cent of the total. Till February, SER loaded 70.26 million tonnes of iron ore out of the total traffic of 115.34 mt.
(Source: Business Line)

No comments: