No capping on iron ore mining in Odisha required: Centre cites 'Make In India' initiative before Supreme Court

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Centre's response has been filed in a petition contending that there is the need for imposing a cap on mining in the State of Odisha as the reserves of iron ore in the state are liable to come to an end within twenty years. 

No capping may be imposed on production of iron ore in Odisha, the Central Government has submitted before the Supreme Court of India.

"The “Make in India” initiative is expected to witness significant investments in Construction, Infrastructure, Automobile, Shipbuilding and Power sectors, which will stimulate steel demand. Therefore, the growth in iron ore production in Odisha is planned in cohesion with the current growth rate and envisaged augmentation of resources with future exploration progammes.", court has been told.

The top court has been further informed that there is no requirement for any study on capping on iron ore production by the Central Empowered Committee (CEC).

These submissions have been made by the Ministry of Mines through Joint Secretary Veena Kumari Dermal in response to an order by the Supreme Court issued in August wherein it had said, "The Union of India shall consider the position and decide whether a cap on mining is necessitated in the case of State of Odisha and, if so, the modalities to be followed for determining such a cap. In arriving at its decision, the Union of India shall also examine the basis on which a cap was imposed in the States of Karnataka and Goa. The Union of India shall file its affidavit on this aspect within a period of eight weeks”.

Centre has submitted that Odisha is the backbone of iron ore production in the country and any capping on iron ore production in Odisha would adversely impact the supply of iron ore to downstream industries.

Resources of any mineral are not static and with constant efforts at exploration the resources keep getting augmented and thus the contention of the petitioner about any scarcity of iron ore in the coming decades is wholly unfounded, the affidavit adds.

"The importance of a robust indigenous and self-sufficient steel industry for realizing the vision of a ‘Developed India by 2047’ cannot be overstated. The developmental needs of the present cannot be ignored and the mineral wealth of the country cannot be allowed to be buried in the ground to frustrate the objective of Atmanirbhar Bharat.", the Ministry has said.

Case Title: Common Cause vs. Union of India