Raipur, April 5 (IANS) Sponge iron producers in Chhattisgarh have sought the centre’s intervention in restoring supply of iron ore to their units, saying nearly one million people are directly or indirectly employed with the sector in the state.
Production in some 50 sponge iron units has come to a halt as private miners in neighbouring Orissa have stopped supplying iron ore after the state government began a crackdown on alleged illegal mining and pilferage of iron ore last month.
The manufacturers’ association has also begun talks with the Chhattisgarh government to find a way out.
Chhattisgarh-based plants, mostly in Raipur, Bilaspur, Raigarh and Janjgir-Champa districts, produce about 30-35 percent of India’s annual sponge iron output.
‘Chhattisgarh has 105 sponge iron units with an annual output of 8 million tonnes, but production has been stopped completely at nearly 50 percent of the units because Orissa-based private contractors have stopped supply since March 4,’ Anil Nachrani, president of the Chhattisgarh Sponge Iron Manufacturers Association, told IANS.
He said the units needed about 12 million tonnes of iron ore annually, of which 9 million tonnes were supplied by private miners from Orissa’s Keonjhar district. The National Mineral Development Corporation provided the remaining 3 million tonnes from its Bailadila mines in Chhattisgarh.
The supply woes have hit several listed companies, including Monnet, Ispat and Sharda Energy.
Manufacturers say more units will either suspend or cut production heavily if supply was not restored.