The chief minister, Naveen Patnaik, has taken a decision to this effect on the ground that the arrangement will be for the interest of the state.
The Tangarpada case was referred to the chief minister's office after IDCOL evaluated fresh financial bids from Tata Steel, Jindal Stainless Ltd (JSL) and Visa Steel. Fresh financial bids were invited from the shortlisted companies following the directives from the Supreme Court.
The state government, however, is examining the legal standing of its decision in view of the apex court's directive.
IDCOL had floated tenders inviting interest from private parties for firming up a joint venture with it to develop the Tangarpada chromite mines in Dhenkanal district. The decision to pick up JSL as the partner for the project entangled the state government in a legal battle. However, the Supreme Court recently directed the state to invite fresh financial bids from the three shortlisted companies and finalise the tender. Interestingly, it was found that all the biddings are almost of equal proportions when it comes to serving the interest of the state.
On a changed situation, IDCOL is now interested to retain the mines for its Jajapur Road ferro chorme plant. As the captive mines, Tailingi mines, is getting exhausted, the plant requires new mines. Moreover, IDCOL has become a profit-making government concern and is now capable of investing in new mines. The partnership with the OMC will give the required technology and expertise for the mining activities, a senior official in the chief minister's secretariat told FE.