With its two chromites mines and its two ferrochrome plants in Odisha shut for over a month, Indian Metal and Ferro Alloys, India’s largest fully-integrated producer of ferroalloys, Saturday said the closure will force the company to discontinue its CSR activities in Odisha.
IMFA, leading producer of value added Ferro chrome, besides providing employing over 6600 people, has been carrying out CSR initiatives through Bansidhar and Ila Panda Foundation in five districts on issues of health, water, sanitation, education and skill development. IMFA with an installed capacity of 187 MVA has captive power generation capacity of 258 MW.
Odisha State Pollution Control Board’s withdrawal of consent to operate resulted in making the industry non-operational and production has come to a complete halt causing uncertainty among the employees, the company said in a statement here.
On April 11, the two chromite mines of the company at Sukinda and Mahagiri in Jajpur district that produced over 0.8 million tonnes of chrome per annum were shut after the Odisha Pollution Control Board revoked its consent to operate certificate, a must for any mine. The company required over 50,000 tonnes of chrome ore per month to feed its two plants located at Choudwar and Therubali, but those two were shut down soon after the closure of mines.
OSPCB which inspected IMFA’s chromite mines at Sukinda on March 23, expressed satisfaction with 16 of the 24 parameters, but raised objection to potholes on the road, frequency of water sprinkling and wheel-washing of trucks. Debidutta Biswal, member secretary of the OSPCB said the CTO was revoked as the response filed by the company to the notices was found to be inadequate. IMFA has appealed against the revocation of the OSPCB order before Odisha High Court calling it arbitrary and intentional.
Incidentally, the closure order of the mines came soon after BJD MP Baijayant Panda questioned his party’s poor performance in February’s panchayat polls in which the BJP showed impressive results though it came second. Panda’s younger brother Subhrakant Panda is IMFA’s managing director. Calling out for introspection, Panda had written an article in an Odia newspaper saying the currrent BJD regime had started looking like the discredited Congress regime of the 80s and late 90s. Panda was recently removed from the post of the BJD Parliamentary Party’s spokesperson.
A senior company official said the closure of the mines has meant IMFA would find it hard to repeat its profit of Rs 248.83 crore in FY 17 in the current fiscal. “The harassment also sends out bad signals to the industries at large. While the company loses out, the State government would also suffer in terms of mining royalty, electricity duty, excise and VAT. If the company is shut for over a year, the government would lose Rs 285 crore revenue,” said a senior company official.