While the first consignment of around 27,000 tonnes of iron ore was sent on March 18, the second consignment of around 72,800 tonnes has been sent on March 26, thus clearing a total of 97,800 tonnes out of the total 2.3 lakh tonnes of iron ore laying in the New Mangalore port.
As of now, Sesa Goa and MEL (Mineral Enterprises Ltd) have got permission to export their accumulated cargo at the port. While the first consignment of 27,000 tonnes of iron ore cargo belonged to Sesa Goa, the second consignment of 72,800 tonnes belonged to MEL. Both the consignments have taken the ore to China.
It may be recalled here that the State government had banned the iron ore’s offshore movement in July 2010 in the wake of widespread allegations of illegal mining, following which the ore was held up in the ports. However, the Supreme Court allowed the export of iron ore that has accumulated at major ports on February 11 following a writ petition.
As the remaining 1.3 lakh tonnes of iron ore belongs to minor exporters, it may take some more time for export, according to sources in the port.
Meanwhile, M Shekar Poojari, the President for Association of New Mangalore Port Stevedores, said that though the Supreme Court ruling is a good news, it will not help minor exporters. Explaining the same, he said several minor exporters have little quantity of iron ore lying in the port, that is, between 1,000 to 10,000 tonnes, which is too less for export.
Stating that more than 7,000 workers and 2,300 truckers have been hit hard following the ban, rendering them jobless, he said the Port too incured a huge loss as machineries worth crores of rupees were lying idle all these months. “If there is any allegation against any particular exporter, why punish everybody?” he questioned.
The Port could export only 8.38 lakh metric tonne of iron ore in 2010-11, till date (Port could export only till the ban was imposed in July 2010) as against the export of 52 lakh metric tonnes in 2009-10, thus incurring a huge loss to the only major port of Karnataka. For several years, iron ore constituted a major share of the New Mangalore Port’s cargo handling.