India Court allows Sterlite smelter to resume production #WTFnews


Read more on: INDIA | STERLITE | SMELTER | Court | Delhi | Imports | Sterlite Industries | New Delhi

By Krishna N Das

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India’s largest copper smelter is likely to restart within a week, after a court on Friday gave a conditional go-ahead, ending a two-month-long shutdown that has squeezed domestic supply and boosted imports.

The smelter run by Sterlite Industries , a unit of London-listed Vedanta , can resume operations overseen by a court-appointed panel, Justice Swatanter Kumar of a fast-track court, the National Green Tribunal, said.

“A balance has to be struck between environmental interests and sustainable economic development,” the judge said, adding that the panel would determine if the smelter required additional anti-pollution equipment.

The court will issue a final order after July 10, he added, to follow Friday‘s interim order.

Sterlite’s smelter is expected to resume production in about a week, a company statement said. Earlier, the head of its copper business P. Ramnath had suggested a restart in two weeks, with supply to customers commencing in another week.

The smelter, which uses imported concentrates, produces 30,000 tonnes of refined copper a month, or more than half of India’s total production. Nearly half its output goes to China.

Its closure had made available to the market an extra 3,000 tonnes of copper concentrates each day.

“If the closure had been prolonged for some more time it would have led to a steep increase for premiums,” said a physical trader based in Singapore, who has Indian clients. “Already we had started getting copper cathode enquiries.”

Most of India’s exports of copper go to China, the world’s biggest consumer of the metal, which used around 9 million tonnes last year, well in excess of India’s annual consumption of around 600,000 tonnes.

“The restart will ease the tight supply situation across Asia, but particularly in India, where the domestic market has been suffering because of a shortage in cathode,” said another metals trader based in Singapore.

The shutdown of the Sterlite smelter helped drive up copper premiums, which rose in Shanghai to a high of $140 a tonne over cash London Metal Exchange copper, the trader added.

A long-arranged shutdown of Hindalco Industries Ltd’s Birla smelter on May 7 also cut tonnage to the market. That smelter, which produces around 30,000 tonnes a month, will reopen early in June, the company has said.

India’s cable makers faced a severe shortage of copper and potential manufacturing delays after the closure of the country’s two biggest copper smelters.

Sterlite, whose parent Vedanta is controlled by billionaire Anil Agarwal, has been waiting for government clearances to double the capacity of its smelter to 800,000 tonnes a year.

Its smelter, in the coastal town of Tuticorin near the southern tip of India, was shut on March 30 after residents complained of emissions that led to breathing problems.

Environmental issues and other concerns, including land acquisition, have enmeshed several global companies’ plans for big-ticket investments in India, ranging from South Korea’s POSCO to units of Vedanta.

Sterlite’s smelter has long been the target of protesters and politicians who call it a risk to local fisheries.

Several cases have been filed against the company since the plant started in 1996. In a different case, India’s top court last month fined Sterlite about $18 million for breaking environmental laws at the smelter.

(Additional reporting by Manolo Serapio Jr. and Melanie Burton in SINGAPORE; editing by Clarence Fernandez and Keiron Henderson)

Stop cutting trees for Posco plant: tribunal


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National green tribunal says large number of trees are being cut without permission of any competent authority
Neha Sethi Mail Me |  Ruchira Singh Mail Me
  
First Published: Tue, May 28 2013. 11 39 PM IST
Environmental clearance for the project was suspended by the same tribunal in March last year. Photo: Reuters<br />
Environmental clearance for the project was suspended by the same tribunal in March last year. Photo: Reuters
Updated: Tue, May 28 2013. 11 53 PM IST
New Delhi/Mumbai: The National Green Tribunal on Tuesday stepped in to stop felling of trees for the controversial Posco steel project in Orissa’s Jagatsinghpur district, posing another challenge to the South Korean company’s much-delayed $12 billion plant.
According to a report by PTI earlier this month, the state government has been able to acquire 2,630 acres of land against the initial requirement of 2,700 acres for setting up the 8 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) plant.
Environmental clearance for the project was suspended by the same tribunal in March last year.
“It is undisputed that as of today the project proponent does not have environmental clearance,” the bench headed by justice Swatanter Kumar said on Tuesday.
A petition filed by activist Prafulla Samantray brought to the tribunal’s notice the violation by the steel company in Orissa.
“It is contended before us now that large number of trees are being felled/cut by the project proponent without permission of any competent authority,” the bench’s order said.
Samantray alleged that the Orissa government was in collusion with the company and around 200,000 trees have been cut despite the suspension of the environmental clearance.
“This shows that the Orissa government is more concerned about the interests of the corporate and not the interest of its people. These trees are very important for our area as they prevent us from cyclones in the area,” he said.
The tribunal’s decision is significant as Posco was violating the earlier NGT order while felling trees in the area, said Rahul Choudhary, advocate for the petitioner.
“This talks about the company and how they are violating the law of the land. The country should make sure that they consider damage to environment because of a plant, instead of just looking at the investment that the company brings,” he said.
The tribunal added that the suspension of the environmental clearance will remain in force till an order is passed by the environment ministry based on the recommendations of a committee headed by former bureaucrat K. Roy Paul that was set up last year to look into this issue.
The South Korean company denied any violations in a posting on its website.
“Posco reiterates that it has never violated any human rights or environment norms in Orissa and also assures all its precious shareholders and stakeholders that Posco has committed itself to protect human rights through ethical practice,” the company said.
Posco India’s general manager, corporate relations, I.G. Lee, did not answer his phone or reply to a text message seeking comments.
Earlier, Lee had said the company was awaiting the handing over of 2,700 acres of land by the state government to start building its steel plant.
According to the original plan, the company needs 4,004 acres in an area with sandy soil in parts where villagers grow nuts and betel vines.
Meanwhile, an independent committee set up to safeguard Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development ethical guidelines has said that Norway’s oil fund, which has invested in Posco’s steel plant and is the largest sovereign wealth fund in the world, has no strategy for dealing with possible violations of human rights by the companies in which it invests.
The committee further said that the fund was not doing enough to protect against human rights breaches.
PTI and Reuters contributed to this story.
  
First Published: Tue, May 28

 

Corporate Push for GMO Food Puts Independent Science in Jeopardy


by Vandana Shiva, Asian Age Dec 7.2012

Science is considered science when it is independent, when it has integrity and when it speaks the truth about its search. It was the integrity, independence and sovereignty of science that drew me and propelled me to study physics.(Photo: rodale.com)

Today, independent science is threatened with extinction. While this is true in every field, it is the field of food and agriculture that I am most concerned about.

At the heart of the food and agriculture debate are genetically modified organisms, also referred to as GMOs. The agrochemical industry’s new avatar is as the GMO industry. According to the industry, GMOs are necessary to remove hunger and are safe.

But evidence from all independent scientists has established that GMOs do not contribute to food security. The UN-sponsored International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) report — written by 400 scientists after a research of three to four years — concluded that there is no evidence that GMOs increase food security. The Union of Concerned scientists concluded in its report, “A Failure to Yield”, that in the US, genetic engineering had not increased the yield. “The GMO Emperor Has No Clothes” — a Global Citizens’ report on the state of GMOs based on field research across the world — also found that genetic engineering has not increased yields. Yet, the propaganda continues that GMOs are the only solution to hunger because GMOs increase yields.

The Supreme Court of India appointed an independent Technical Expert Committee (TEC) to advise it on issues of biosafety. The committee has some of India’s most eminent scientists, including Dr Imran Siddiqui, director of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, and Dr P.S. Ramakrishnan, India’s leading biodiversity expert and professor emeritus at the Jawaharlal Nehru University.

One would have expected the government to accept the recommendations of this eminent panel and to throw its weight behind the integrity and independence of science.

The most effective road to reducing hunger and malnutrition is to intensify land use in terms of biodiversity and ecological processes of renewal of soil fertility. Biodiverse ecological farms increase food and nutrition output per acre.

Instead, the government is throwing its weight behind the industry and its fraudulent claims. The Centre has joined the industry in opposing the expert committee’s report recommending moratorium on open field trial of GM crops for 10 years. Responding to a direct query from a bench presided over by Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice S.J. Mukhopadaya, Attorney General G.E. Vahanvati, appearing for the Centre, said that the Centre does not accept the recommendations of the TEC. With the industry also filing objections to the report, the court directed the expert committee to give a final report after considering objections by various parties.

Stressing on the need to introduce GM crops, the Centre has said it would not be able to meet the first millennium development goal (MDG) of cutting the number of hungry people by half without such technologies. A moratorium of 10 years would take the country 20 years back in scientific research, it added.

These are fallacious arguments. Only two per cent of the GMO soy in the US is eaten by humans. The rest is used as biofuel to run cars and as animal feed. More GMOs do not mean more food.

The most effective road to reducing hunger and malnutrition is to intensify land use in terms of biodiversity and ecological processes of renewal of soil fertility. Biodiverse ecological farms increase food and nutrition output per acre.

The real scientific need for India and the world is to do research on agroecology, on how biodiversity and agro-ecosystems can produce more food while using lesser resources.

In the chemical industrial paradigm, seed and soil are empty containers to add toxic chemicals and genes to, and water is limitless. Industrial agriculture is destroying the natural capital on which food security depends.

All independent research on safety indicates that GMOs have serious biosafety issues. This is why we have a UN biosafety protocol.

The industrial agriculture and GMO paradigm has no understanding of the millions of soil organisms that produce soil fertility, the thousands of crop species that feed us, the amazing work of pollinators like bees and butterflies. And because ecological interactions that produce food are a black hole in the GMO paradigm, the impact of the release of GMOs in the environment is also a black hole. Independent science is vital to fill the gaps in knowledge about the ecology of food production and the ecology of biosafety. This is the knowledge gap that the TEC and independent scientists everywhere are trying to fill.

All independent research on safety indicates that GMOs have serious biosafety issues. This is why we have a UN biosafety protocol.

Beginning with Hungarian-born biochemist and nutritionist Dr Arpad Putzai and continuing with French scientist Dr Seralini, industry and its lobbyists assault every independent scientist whose research shows that GMOs have risks. Dr Putzai’s research, commissioned by the UK government, showed that rats fed with GMO potatoes had shrunken brains, enlarged pancreas and damaged immunity. Dr Putzai was hounded out of his lab and a gag order was put on him.

The publication of a paper in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology “Long Term Toxicity of a Roundup Herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant GM Maize” by Dr Seralini et al (2012) has generated intense debate on the safety or otherwise of Monsanto’s GM maize NK603.

The European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility (ENSSER) welcomes Dr Seralini’s study. I joined 120 scientists to sign a letter —Seralini and Science: An Open Letter — supporting Dr Seralini’s study.

Independent science is vital to fill the gaps in knowledge about the ecology of food production and the ecology of biosafety.

Russia and Kazakhstan have since halted imports of NK603 maize and, more recently, the Kenyan Cabinet has issued a directive to stop the import of GM foods due to inadequate research done on GMOs and lack of scientific evidence to prove the safety of the food.

This precautionary approach is what India’s Supreme Court-appointed TEC is calling for.

Citizens of California had put up Proposition 37 in the recent elections for something as simple as the “Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food” by having a label on GMO foods. This is recognised as a citizen’s right in Europe and now in India. But the California vote was defeated by industry spending — big food industry players are paying big bucks to battle California’s GMO labelling initiative. According to reports, they are spending as much as $1 million a day on false and misleading advertising.

If citizens don’t have the right to know and scientists don’t have the freedom to speak the truth, we are creating societies that are dangerous — both in terms of loss of democratic freedom and in terms of risking biosafety.

Independent scientists, along with the bees and biodiversity of our plants and seeds, could well become a species threatened with extinction if we do not stop the GMO drone.

 

Goa ‘beats’ Karnataka in illegal mining


Goa ‘beats’ Karnataka in illegal mining
By Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN  and PTI | Dec 8, 2012,

The apex court’s high-powered environment panel said that the illegal mining was carried out allegedly with the “tacit” approval of the previous Digambar Kamat government.

NEW DELHI: Rampant illegal iron ore mining in Goa, which has devastated the state, is much larger than the illegal mining in Karnataka, and the Union ministry of environment and forests granted green clearances to 162 mines near national parks and sanctuaries in breach of Supreme Court orders, a report by the CEC (central empowered committee) said.

The apex court’s high-powered environment panel also said that the illegal mining was carried out allegedly with the “tacit” approval of the previous Digambar Kamat government.

The report was presented on Friday by amicus curiae A D N Rao before a bench of Justices Aftab Alam, K S Radhakrishnan and Swatanter Kumar.

The bench issued notices to the Union and state government seeking their response to the report, which said, “A very large number of mining leases were being operated by persons other than the lessees and in flagrant violation of the provisions of mining law and in all probability with the tacit approval of the state government.”

The report said that the state experiences plenty of rainfall, which washes the sediments of iron ore mining to the rivers, choking and irreversibly damaging the sensitive Zuari and Mandovi estuaries complex, said to be the largest in the country.

The CEC said that during 2006-2011, 39.56 million tonnes of illegal iron ore was exported from the state.

“The bulk of the mining leases are in the forests or natural vegetation and consequently mining has take a heavy toll on Goa’s natural vegetation and wildlife,” the environment panel said through member secretary M K Jiwrajka.

“The environmental clearances granted by the Ministry of Environment & Forests, (MoEF) for the 19 mining leases located within the wildlife sanctuaries and for another 23 mining leases located within a distance of upto 1 km from the boundaries of nearby national parks / sanctuaries being in violation of this Court’s orders dated. The mining operations in such mining leases may be prohibited,” the report said.

The 124-page report was placed before a three judge bench headed by Justice Aftab Alam which would consider its findings and recommendation in the next date of hearing.

Taking note of the Justice M B Shah Commission report which estimated a whopping Rs.35,000 crore loss to the exchequer due to illegal mining in the last 12 years, the bench had halted mining operations in all the 90 mines in Goa.

It had also asked the CEC to submit its report on the illegal mining in the state within four weeks.

The committee in its report said that on the line of Karnataka, Goa also prepare a reclamation and rehabilitation (R&R) plan and the apex court should examine the environmental clearances given to the mining leases.

“Goa may be directed to immediately notify comprehensive Rules to regulate the storage, transportation and shipment of mineral,” the report said adding “Till such comprehensive Rules are put in place, the resumption of mining operations may be not be permitted.”

The CEC said that mining operation be allowed only after Environment Impact Assessment is done and reclamation and rehabilitation (R&R) plan is prepared.

“The mining operation may be allowed to be resumed in Goa by the mining leases not found to be involved in any illegalities only after (a) the Macro Level IA study report of the ICFRE is received by this Court and decision regarding Taluka wise ceiling on permissible annual production from all the mining leases is taken (b) the survey and demarcation of the mining leases by the team constituted by this Court is completed and (c) the R&R Plans are prepared,” the report said.

The Committee also recommended that additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Bangalore may be directed to verify that the mining operations will not have adverse impact on the flora, fauna or wildlife habitat and the status of the forest areas have correctly been stated by the companies for seeking environmental clearances.

“This court may consider taking a decision regarding validity of such environmental clearances after considering the recommendations of the Standing Committee of the National Board for Wildlife, the report of chief conservator of forests Bangalore and other information / details. Till then the such environmental clearances may be directed to be held in abeyance,” the report said.

The CEC filed its report in compliance of the Supreme Court direction which passed the order on a PIL filed by an NGO, Goa Foundation, seeking probe in the illegal mining activities in the state.

The state government had on September 10 temporarily suspended all mining operations till October 2012, but the petitioner alleged that suspension did not affect the trade as the private companies are transporting the ores from mines.

The court is already seized of the illegal mining cases in Karnataka where, after halting all mining activities for more than year, it had on September 3 allowed operations in only 18 mines out of more than 100 mines where the irregularities were minimum.

 

SC-Dispose toxic waste in a six months and ensure proper healthcare to Bhopal Victims #Goodnews


 

, TNN  and Hindu| Aug 10, 2012,

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the Centre and Madhya Pradesh government to take steps within six months for safe disposal of the large quantity of toxic wastelying in and around the defunct Union Carbideplant, from which leak of poisonous gas in December 1984 had resulted in death of thousands and maiming of a lakh people.To ensure proper implementation of the relief and rehabilitation programme and regular health care facilities for the Bhopal gas leak victims, they ordered that all medical records of patients be computerised and health booklets and smart cards be issued to each victim.

Terming the unattended toxic waste at the plant as hazardous to the health of people in Bhopal, a bench of Chief Justice S H Kapadia and Justices A K Patnaik and Swatanter Kumar said “it needs to be disposed of at the earliest and in a scientific manner”.

“We direct the Union of India and the state of Madhya Pradesh to take immediate steps for disposal of the toxic waste laying in and around the Union Carbide factory, Bhopal, on the recommendations of the Empowered Monitoring Committee, Advisory Committee and the National Institute of Research in Environment Health (NIREH) within six months,” said Justice Kumar, who authored the judgment.

“The disposal should be strictly in a scientific manner which may cause no further damage to human health and environment in Bhopal. We direct a collective meeting of these organizations to be held along with the secretary to the government of India and the chief secretary of the state of Madhya Pradesh within one month from today to finalize the entire scheme of disposal of the toxic waste,” the bench said.

Private bodies and NGOs have estimated that around 27,000 tonnes of toxic waste is lying in and around the Carbide plant. They have expressed apprehension that this was responsible for gradual ground water contamination in nearby areas.

The bench also ordered transfer of the 14-year-old PIL by NGO ‘Bhopal Gas Peedith Mahila Udyog Sangathan’ to Madhya Pradesh High Court for monitoring of proper implementation of the series of directions issued by the apex court on Thursday as well as on earlier occasions to alleviate the suffering of the victims and provide them proper medical help.

It also dissolved the Bhopal Memorial Hospital Trust (BMHT), which was taken over by the Centre after former CJI A M Ahmadi resigned as its chairman. The Bhopal Memorial Hospital and Research Centre and the Trust were created on the direction of the apex court in 1988 for healthcare of gas victims.

The trust, with a corpus of Rs 436.47 crore, will be dissolved and the money vested with the Union ministry of health and family welfare which will continue with the research work and provide healthcare to victims, the bench said.

In another significant direction, it wanted the accounts of the trust to be audited afresh till July 2010 despite a private chartered accountant pointing to “no irregularity or objections”.

The bench said, “It would still be in the interest of BMHT itself, particularly when the management and corpus of the BMHT have been transferred to the Union of India, that the government agency, besides regularly inspecting the accounts of BMHT, also give their final report for the period ending July 2010.”

It added, “Accounts of BMHRC and allied departments, as far as they are subject matter of the present writ petition, shall be audited by the principal accountant general (audit), Madhya Pradesh. It shall also examine the accounts and the audit report dated 15th July, 2011 submitted by M/s V K Verma and Company within three months from today.”

The court said with passage of time, the figure of gas affected population had risen to 5 lakh. “With the passage of time this disaster has attained wider dimensions and greater concerns, which require discharge of higher responsibilities by all agencies. In terms of Article 21 of the Constitution, all the gas victims are entitled to greater extent of multi-dimensional healthcare, as their sufferings are in no way, directly or indirectly, attributable to them. It was, primarily and undoubtedly, the negligence on the part of Union Carbide Ltd that resulted in leakage of the MIC gas, causing irreversible damage to the health of not only the persons affected but even the children who were still to be born,” the court said.

Entrusting the Empowered Monitoring Committee with this task, the Bench said: “It must undertake to operationalise medical surveillance, computerisation of medical information, publication of ‘health booklets,’ etc. It shall also ensure that ‘health booklets’ and ‘smart cards’ are provided to each… victim irrespective of where such victim is being treated.”

Writing the judgment, Justice Kumar said: “The Empowered Monitoring Committee shall have complete jurisdiction to oversee the proper functioning of the Bhopal Memorial Hospital and Research Centre (BMHRC) as well as other government hospitals dealing with the gas victims. This jurisdiction shall be limited to the problems relatable to the gas victims or the problems arising directly from the incident [which occurred on the night of December 2-3, 1984 at Union Carbide’s plant] or even the problems allied thereto. The Monitoring Committee shall have no jurisdiction over the private hospitals, nursing homes and clinics in Bhopal. However, it does not absolve the State of Madhya Pradesh and the Medical Council of India of discharging its responsibilities towards the… victims who are being treated in private hospitals, nursing homes or clinics.”

Justifying the directions, the Bench said: “Unlike natural calamities that are beyond human control, avoidable disasters resulting from human error/negligence prove more tragic and… imbalance the inter-generational equity and cause irretrievable damage to the health and environment for generations to come. Such tragedy may occur from pure negligence, contributory negligence or even failure to take necessary precautions in carrying on certain industrial activities. More often than not, the affected parties have to face avoidable damage and adversity that result from such disasters. The magnitude and extent of adverse impact on the financial soundness, social health and upbringing of younger generation, including progenies, may have been beyond human expectations. In such situations and where the laws are silent or are inadequate, the courts have unexceptionally stepped in to bridge the gaps, to provide for appropriate directions and guidelines to ensure that fundamentals of Article 21 of the Constitution are not violated.”

The Bench directed the State government and the Monitoring Committee to evolve a methodology for a common referral system among the various medical units under the erstwhile BMHRC and the Bhopal Gas Tragedy Relief and Rehabilitation Department to ensure that the victims “are referred to appropriate centres for proper diagnosis and treatment…” The Monitoring Committee shall issue a standardised protocol for treating each category of ailment.

The Bench said: “The management of the Bhopal Memorial Hospital Trust (BMHT) has already been vested with the [Union] Ministry of Health and Family Welfare… and the working of the BMHT has come to an end. We, thus, direct that the Union of India and the State of Madhya Pradesh take appropriate steps to ensure the dissolution of the Trust in accordance with law.”

 

Karnataka mining scam may have cost exchequer Rs 50,000 crore #Indiashining


 

NEW DELHI: The scale of the Karnataka mining scam seems to be getting bigger with the estimates of an expert committee suggesting that the alleged robber barons who engaged in illicit mining may have cheated the state of Rs 50,000 crore in taxes and other levies.

The mining syndicate which thrived across regimes claimed that it was taking out just 50 million tonnes of iron ore every year whereas inspections showed that in reality, another 30-40 million tonnes of ore was illegally mined and siphoned off.

Considering that the recent e-auction for just 26.58 million tonnes brought in Rs 1,496 in various levies, the loss to the state exchequer works out to Rs 7,000 crore every year over the last one decade.

The Supreme Court’s environment panel, Central Empowered Committee (CEC), submitted its report to a bench of Justices Aftab Alam, K S Radhakrishnan and Swatanter Kumar on Thursday and said till July 31, 26.58 million tonnes of iron ore was sold through e-auction for Rs 6,416 crore.

“In addition to the sale price, about Rs 1,496 crore has been recovered and paid by the monitoring committee to the government — Rs 606.24 crore as royalty, Rs 594.06 crore as forest development charges, Rs 270.65 crore as VAT and Rs 25.11 crore as CST,” said the report submitted to the court by CEC’s member secretary M K Jiwrajika.

CEC sources said if the private lease holders had sold the iron ore for Rs 6,416 crore, then they would have paid income tax of over Rs 2,100 crore to the government. So, along with the various levies, the government would have got almost Rs 3,600 crore from the entire transaction.

Before the apex court banned mining completely, private lease holders had declared sale of 50 million tonnes of iron ore per year on an average and inspection showed that another 30-40 million tonnes of ore was illegally mined and siphoned off.

If sale of the total 80-90 million tonnes of iron ore was shown as legal by the private parties every year, then they would have earned around Rs 18,000 crore, over which income tax would have been Rs 6,000 crore. In addition, the government would have got nearly Rs 1,500 crore as royalty, FDC, VAT and CST. This means the government would have got around Rs 7,500 crore every year. But what the government actually got was only around Rs 500 crore from the private parties.

Thus, an estimated loss of Rs 7,000 crore to the exchequer per year happened for nearly a decade and CEC sources said the entire illegal extraction of iron ore and under-reporting of sale and extraction could have cost the exchequer Rs 50,000 crore.

The bench asked the Karnataka government to file its response to the CEC report after amicus curiae Shyam Divan and A D N Rao informed the court that the reclamation and rehabilitation plan for 16 mines had been prepared. But the bench insisted that it would permit resumption of mining in these mines only after the rehabilitation plan was implemented on the ground.

To make available adequate quantity of iron ore for iron and steel plants dependent on the ore extracted from Bellary-Hospet, Tumkur and Chitradurga districts, the bench sought an update from NMDC, which alone has been allowed by the court to undertake limited mining operations.

Senior advocate Arvind Datar, appearing for NMDC, said the PSU had the capability to extract 10 lakh tonnes of iron ore but it faced problems in transporting the extracted mineral and lack of assured long term demand.

The Karnataka Iron and Steel Manufacturers Association and Federation of Indian Mineral Industries through senior advocates C S Vaidyanathan and T S Andhyarujina said their clients were ready to lift the mineral. The bench asked representatives of industry associations, ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) and NMDC to sit with the CEC on Monday to chalk out long-term e-auction scheme and place it before the court on August 17.

dhananjay.mahapatra@timesgroup.com

 

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