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Centre to discuss KIOCL issue with State Govt.

By Our Special Correspondent

BANGALORE, FEB. 17. The Union Minister for Mines, Sis Ram Ola, has said that the Centre is against the closure of any public sector unit (PSU), including the Kudremukh Iron Ore Company Ltd. (KIOCL) in the State.

Questioned by presspersons about his reaction to the stoppage of mining operations by KIOCL from December 2005, at the India Mining Summit 2005 here today, he said the Centre will take a final decision on the issue after discussing it with the State. "The Centre is against the closure of PSUs. I will discuss the KIOCL case with the State Government and decide later," he said.

The Supreme Court allowed KIOCL to continue mining till December 2005 and it directed that the modalities for complying with the directions of the court be worked out in a manner recommended by the Central Empowered Committee that monitors all forest and wildlife cases. Subsequently, KIOCL had filed an affidavit in the court seeking an extension of the time it had been allowed to remain within the Kudremukh National Park, on the basis of amendments made in the Mineral Conservation and Development (Amendment) Rules, notified on April 10, 2003, and in particular, Rule 23-C relating to the submission of the final closure plan. The Supreme Court, however, turned down the request of KIOCL.

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