Relief for VISP as State government reserves land for captive mining

Plant has been forced to buy iron ore in the open market

The State government’s decision to reserve 150 acres in Block 13/1 in Ramanadurga range of Sandur taluk in Ballari district for the Visvesvaraya Iron and Steel Plant (VISP), a public sector undertaking in Bhadravati, for allotment of captive mine for iron ore has come as a major relief for the firm that has been incurring loss for the past few years.

The decision to reserve the land for captive mining operations was taken by the meeting of State cabinet on August 7, as per the Mines and Minerals(Development and Regulation) Act.

The reserved land will be handed over to VISP, owned by Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL), after completion of the formalities.

The sanctioning of a captive mine was long demand of VISP. The captive mine in Kemmannugundi owned by VISP was decommissioned in 2004 following the expiry of the lease period.

Since then, the firm has been purchasing iron ore in the open market resulting in an escalation in production cost and sharp decline in profit margins. During his visit to Bhadravati in 2015, Narendra Singh Tomar, then Union Minister for Steel, had promised that SAIL would invest ₹1,000 crore for modernising VISP if the State government sanctions a captive mine for the firm in Ramanadurga range.

Choudhary Birender Singh, Union Minister for Steel, also told a delegation of workers of VISP that investment will be done for modernising VISP after the State government sanctions a captive mine for the firm.

J.N. Chandrahas, president of VISP Workers' Union, told The Hindu that in a meeting in New Delhi on August 24 he had apprised the SAIL management on the decision taken by the State government to allot a captive mine for VISP.

Hence, the union also requested the release of funds to modernise VISP, he said.

Jagadeesh J., general secretary of the union, has said that the preliminary survey has revealed that the total iron ore deposit at the land is more than 25 million tonnes.

The iron ore deposit here is of fine quality and will cater to the requirements of VISP for next 50 years, he added.

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Printable version | May 31, 2020 2:54:58 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/relief-for-visp-as-state-government-reserves-land-for-captive-mining/article19571919.ece

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