Governor may review Soren’s Ghatkuri largesse

When former chief minister Shibu Soren decided to hand over the Ghatkuri iron ore to private companies,otherwise reserved for the PSUs....

Written by Manoj Prasad | Ranchi | Published: February 7, 2009 11:07 pm

When former chief minister Shibu Soren decided to hand over the Ghatkuri iron ore to private companies,otherwise reserved for the PSUs,it created quite a controversy in the state. Now with the state under President’s rule,there’s a new twist in the tale with Secretary (Mines) Santosh Kumar Satapathy on Friday writing to Governor Syed Sibtey Razi to review Soren’s affidavit pertaining to the iron ore and saying that “it would be unscientific to divide the area in different parts,as it would result in huge wastage”. According to an officer attached to the Governor,a decision regarding Satapathy’s report may be taken soon.

Ghatkuri,spread over 6,400 hectares,contains 600 million tones of iron ore reserve. It was reserved for PSUs,but Soren de-reserved it in favour of six companies — Monnet Ispat and Energy Ltd,Jharkhand Ispat Ltd,Prakash Ispat Ltd,Adhunik Alloys and Power Ltd,Abhijeet Infrastructure Ltd and Ispat Industries Ltd. These companies had signed an MoU with the state Government to set up steel plants in the state and had sought the mines on lease. The state Government first forwarded their applications recommending to the Centre to grant them Ghatkuri mines on lease,but later withdrew the grant prompting these companies to move the court. As the Jharkhand High Court declined to provide them any relief,they moved the Supreme Court. The SC issued a notice calling upon the state Government to explain its stand. Soren then agreed to recommend the grant of lease to these companies.

“Each petitioner company would be required to file with the state Government an affidavit assuring that it would establish its plant within a reasonable time. Each petitioner company would also be required to give a written undertaking to the state Government that they would ensure that no part of the iron ore shall be wasted and that all would be fully utilised,” stated the affidavit filed by the state Government at the Supreme Court. The SC ordered,“we direct that the state Government send its recommendations in terms of what has been stated above within a period of five weeks to the Centre.”

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