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Jharkhand woos ArcelorMittal,favours 2nd PL

Global steel tycoon Lakshmi Niwas Mittal’s efforts to secure raw material for his proposed mega 12 million tonne integrated steel plant in Jharkhand...

Written by Priyadarshi Siddhanta | New Delhi | Published: February 19, 2010 1:37 am

Global steel tycoon Lakshmi Niwas Mittal’s efforts to secure raw material for his proposed mega 12 million tonne integrated steel plant in Jharkhand seems to be fetching him dividends with the state recommending granting of a second Prospecting Licence (PL) for additional 416.93 hectares of mining area to it.

This is in addition to the PL of 662.95 hectares already recommended by the state to the Centre for Arcelor Mittal on December 30,2009. The state government is keen to express its seriousness to the Luxembourg-headquartered multinational in facilitating the mega project entailing an investment of Rs 40,000 crore. This comes amid reports that Mittal’s India team is scouting for alternative location to set up its plant. It has undertaken a recce of some sites in Karnataka for a Greenfield project. The state government is vying with other states to bring ArcelorMittal to Karnataka given its rich iron ore deposits.

“We have already received a recommendation from the Jharkhand government for granting PL of 690 hectares of land. Following this we have now received another PL recommendation for 416.93 hectares to Arcelor Mittal,” a Mines Ministry official told The Indian Express . Mittal’s company was chosen among a host of applicants including Tata Steel,JSW and state-owned steel behemoth SAIL. ArcelorMittal has already been allocated the Karampada mines in Jharkhand with estimated reserves of 65 million tonnes of iron ore against its projected need of 600 MT.

The company needs about 10,000 acres in Jharkhand and about 8,000 acres in Orissa (for another similar facility) to put up steel plants with a promised investment of over Rs 80,000 crore. The company is learnt to be concerned over delays in securing regulatory approvals for its proposed projects in these two neighbouring states.

ArcelorMittal has been facing public ire in its efforts to acquire land in the tribal-dominated Torpa-Tamdara area of Jharkhand prompting it to explore other locations. AcelorMittal India CEO Vijay Bhatnagar has attributed the delay in land acquisition to “social activism” and had told this newspaper that if there were further delays,“the company does reserve the right to think in terms of re-locating the project from Torpa-Tamdara to an alternate site within the state.”

Bhatnagar had said that the state government has allocated about 1,200 acres of government land and as demanded deposited 80 per cent of the cost of the allocated land with the state. “However,we are still unable to visit the allocated land due to stiff opposition from local activists,” he said.

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