An acute shortage of iron ore is hurting Odisha’s small businesses badly. Iron ore production in Odisha has dropped by over 31-34 million tonnes in 2021-22 to around 110 mn tonnes presently. The shortage has particularly hit small and medium scale industries (SMEs) who do not have captive mines and are dependent on iron ore supplies from the open market to run their plants. Odisha accounts for half of India’s iron ore production; and the state is under pressure to ensure supplies with leading industry bodies appealing for timely intervention of the state government as well as the Ministry of Steel & Mines. The challenge for the government is to address the supply shortages as well as contain the unviable price rise of the critical raw material. Production increase is the only solution to address the current supply-demand mismatch, says Vipin Gupta, Director, Utkal Metalics. He adds: “This responsibility falls on the Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC), a state government undertaking whose role in this regard is cut out. They will have to ramp up efficiency and production being the largest state-owned mining corporation.” Industry members hold that the OMC also needs to come out with a policy not to allow captive miners to participate in OMC’s auction bidding process.