The Centre has rejected the Odisha Government’s request to grant lease of Khandadhar iron ore mine to Korean steel giant POSCO, saying the allocation would be made only through the bidding process. The centre made it clear that POSCO will have to take part in the open bidding process to get either Khandadhar or any other mines.
The Odisha Government had requested the Centre to treat POSCO as a spcial case and grant it prospecting license to use Khandadhar for its proposed $12 billion mega steel plant near Paradip. The state government is undecided whether it should make a fresh appeal to the centre in this regard or not.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had sought exemption for POSCO with the argument that the centre as well as the state had made several commitment to the steel giant to ensure smooth operations at its proposed steel plant.
Union Steel and Mines minister Narendra Singh Tomar replied, saying all mines will be auctioned as per the amendment to the MMDR Act passed by Parliament recently. Tomar politely refused to entertain the Odisha government’s request for exempting POSCO from auction.