By Bizodisha Bureau, Bhubaneswar, August 10, 2019: The Odisha government will begin auctions of virgin iron, manganese, graphite and limestone blocks, according to a decision of a high-level committee of the state government.

The state government will issue the Notice Inviting Tenders (NITs) for auctions of 11 more virgin blocks on August 16. The proposed roster includes eight iron ore blocks and one each for manganese, graphite and limestone. All the enlisted blocks will be offered as composite licenses-prospecting licenses (PL) cum mining lease (ML).

The freehold blocks lined up for auctions are Narinpanga, Pureibahal, Chandiposhi, Jhumka Pathiriposi, Dholtapahad, Unchabali, Gandhalpada, Rengalbeda North-East, Netrabandha Pahar (West), Kalimati and Uskalvagu.

Last time the state had issued the NITs on July 31 this year for seven non iron ore blocks. The high level committee had kept in abeyance the decision to open tenders for iron ore blocks following its ongoing row with the Centre over mineral lease area limits.

Even as the is yet to respond to Odisha’s request, the state government has decided to carry forward with the auctions process. Accordingly, it has worked out tentative schedules. A pre-bid conference is to be held on August 28 with technical bids opening on September 23. The preferred bidder is set to be announced on October 22 and November 1. The letter of intent to the successful bidder is proposed to be issued on November 15.

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