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`SAIL, Ministry to forego part of Chiria mines'

Ambarish Mukherjee

Left MP alleges move will help Mittal Steel

New Delhi , Dec. 19

Mr Abani Roy, the RSP Member of Parliament, has alleged that the present management of Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) has agreed to voluntarily forego part of its rights on the Chiria iron ore mines, which the company had got under its control following the merger of Indian Iron & Steel Company (IISCO) with SAIL.

"This is being done to enable global steel giants to set foot in the mineral rich State and would lead to frittering away of the country's rich natural resources,'' Mr Roy has said.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, Mr Roy has said: "I now reliably learn that `some understanding' has been reached with the Steel Ministry and SAIL to sort out the Chiria imbroglio by asking SAIL to surrender half its claim suo motu of the mine so that Mittal can be taken care of. And the matter before the High Court would be withdrawn in lieu of the settlement."

"SAIL's new leadership has tacitly agreed to such an arrangement," he added.

Mr Roy also reminded the Prime Minister that "the same IISCO with Chiria mines was offered for divestment to Mittal Steel, among others, in the late nineties. And Mittal Steel turned it down. The answer given by Mittal Steel now, when this question was posed recently, was that the steel market was down at that time."

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