Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd moves SC over mine closure

 Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL) moved the Supreme Court on Tuesday seeking a stay on the order of the state mining department asking it to close down six of its coal mines for not having environment clearance. Coal production has come to a standstill in these mines from Saturday after the company closed those after getting the notice.

“Out of the six mines, five are underground ones. Since we are a nationalized company, we follow all government guidelines. So we have no other option but to close down all six coal mines at Orient area in Jharsuguda’s Belpahar after receiving the closure notice from the deputy director of mines. However, we have moved the apex court because we have already completed all formalities as per guidelines,” a senior official of MCL said on Tuesday.

According to him, the company is hopeful to get the stay as it is not at fault. “We have already applied for clearance fulfilling all formalities but the application is pending with the department concerned since a long time,” he said. He said earlier the apex court had directed the government to expedite the case submitted to the principal chief conservator of forests and forwarding the same to the ministry of environment and forests for stage-1 clearance.

A MCL release said the company is losing huge revenue because of closure as the company produces coal to the tune 4,000 to 5,000 tonnes a day from these coal mines. “This is not the question of loss. But 5,000 workers are sitting idle because of no work. If this continues for few days, then the workers will be morally down,” the PRO of the company, Dikken Mehra said.

The closure of the coal mines has affected the supply of coal to the thermal power stations leading to power crisis in the state. NTPC, OPGC and NALCO are facing difficulties in getting coal after the closure of the mines.

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