Amid allegations of monopolisation of chrome ore trade leveled by the All Odisha Steel Federation against state controlled miner- Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC), the Odisha government has informed the Competition Commission of India (CCI) that there is no policy for fixation of sale price of the ore.
AOSF, an organization representing the interests of steel and sponge iron makers, had filed a case with the CCI in January 2012, alleging monopoly in chrome ore trade by OMC.
“CCI is presently investigating into our charge of monopolization of chrome ore trade by OMC. The commission had heard the case in April this year,” said P L Kandoi, president, AOSF.
The state steel & mines department has clarified to CCI that there is no policy of OMC for long-term sale of either chrome ore or chrome concentrate to any buyer inside or outside the state.
“The entire sale of chrome ore or chrome concentrate is done in the domestic market and there is no export. Chrome ore is sold to end user industries of Odisha and outside the state in the ratio of 70:30. This ratio, is, however, not applicable for chrome ore concentrate. Sale of chrome ore and chrome ore concentrate is being conducted by OMC through e-tender with effect from July 1, 2012,” P K Panda, additional secretary (steel & mines) said in a letter to S P Deo, additional director general, CCI.
Panda stated that the 70:30 ratio for sales to units located within and outside the state has been decided by the board of directors of OMC in 2008-09. The chrome ore sale ratio does not require the approval of the Government of India, he stated.
Justifying the 70:30 ratio, Panda said, “While most of the buyers outside Odisha are refractories and chemical units, the buyers within the state are mainly ferro chrome ore industries. The total chrome ore requirement of empanelled Odisha-based buyers is 1.23 million tonne per annum (mtpa), that of outside buyers is 0.75 mtpa.”
A large number of ferro chrome units have come up in Odisha over the last few years requiring huge quantity of chrome ore as raw material. Presently, there are 33 buyers from outside Odisha and 21 buyers within the state.
Pointing out in a scenario where a large number of mines do not have captive mines, the state government has informed CCI that sale by PSUs can ensure equitable distribution at fair market price.