Act responsibly or mining lease will be scrapped: Chhattisgarh govt to NMDC

If Chhattisgarh goes ahead with its planned move to scrap the lease, it would spell doom for the cash-rich NMDC Ltd
The Chhattisgarh government is highly upset with India's largest iron ore miner in public sector NMDC Ltd, and have warned of scrapping its mining lease if it fails to honour the commitment.

NMDC Ltd was committed to cough up Rs 1,623 crore as part of 'common clause judgement' to Chhattisgarh for getting its mines leases extended which were due to expire in March 2020. But the company paid just Rs 600 crore but got its mines lease extended till September 11, 2035, news agency PTI reported.

However, the Congress regime has virtually offered the last chance to Steel Minister Dharmendra Pradhan to instruct the public sector mining giant to honour its commitment with the state government.

Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel has sent a strongly-worded letter to the Steel Minister dated May 4 in which he advised him to instruct the NMDC Ltd to "act more responsibly and honour its commitment to the state".

"The government of Chhattisgarh has always played a very supportive role for the growth and smooth functioning of NMDC. In return, the NMDC has not been keeping up with its commitments given to the state on more than one occasion," the letter read.

Baghel, who led Congress to a stunning victory and ended the BJP's winning streak in the state in 2018, is upset with the Hyderabad-headquartered NMDC Ltd for refusing to honour its prime commitments made to the state in recent months.

NMDC Ltd presently mines 90 per cent of its iron ore from Chhattisgarh's leftist insurgency-hit Dantewada district. If Chhattisgarh goes ahead with its planned move to scrap the lease, it would spell doom for the cash-rich NMDC Ltd as all its efforts in recent months to persuade BJP regime in Karnataka to allow it to resume iron ore excavation at Donimalai site, has already failed to yield any impact.

NMDC Ltd, operates three iron ore complexes in the country, two of these are in Dantewada while the third one at Dolimalai (Karnataka). The company is excavating iron ore at Bailadila hills at Dantewada district since late 1960s during undivided Madhya Pradesh period.

Chhattisgarh government had extended lease of NMDC's sprawling iron ore mines in December last year after its Chairman-cum-Managing Director (CMD) N. Baijendra Kumar gave word to the chief minister personally in Raipur that NMDC will honour its all commitments with the state government.

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