Iron ore imports to Karnataka major concern: Trade body

19 lakh tonnes of iron ore imported in last five months

Rising iron ore imports will adversely impact employment, revenues, and infrastructure development in Karnataka, a State that has abundant supply and stocks of the mineral, said the Federation of Indian Mineral Industries (FIMI), Southern Region.

Some 19 lakh tonnes of iron ore was imported to the State in the last five months from other States and that led to huge revenue erosion and job losses, it said.

FIMI said the concurrent restrictions on the trade of iron ore in Karnataka was suppressing the growth of the sector with significant deleterious effects on the industry ecosystem and also on the state exchequer. The apex body sought the intervention of both the State government and the Ministry of Mines into the issue.

According to FIMI, Karnataka had witnessed iron ore imports of some 4 lakh tonnes from the eastern part of India, covering 1,620 km, through South-East Railway in October 2020.

“We have raised our concern with the Principal Secretary Mines & Small Scale Industries, Government of Karnataka in November 2020. But since then almost 15 lakh tonnes of iron ore have been imported to the state. Also, transportation of iron ore across such long-distance is environmentally unfriendly,” noted the trade body.

The rest of India was exporting iron ore, under the EXIM Policy of the Union government, thereby ensuring fair revenue to the exchequer including foreign exchange as well as overall growth of the nation by using the railways, port facilities etc. As per data available, other parts of the country exported 10.34 million tonnes of fines and 1.16 mmts of lumps in 2019, said FIMI.

The buyers have the freedom of trade and the right to purchase iron ore either through e-auction or from other states or via imports. But the current scenario has created a skewed market, disadvantageous to sellers in Karnataka as they can only sell to end-users within the State, the mining trade body lamented.

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