CHIEF Minister Devendra Fadnavis Friday paved the way for Lloyds Metals and Energy Ltd’s sponge iron plant at Konsari village in Gadchiroli district by distributing cheques to farmers from whom the company has acquired 100 acres of land for the plant. The CM also inaugurated the project to de-silt and reconstruct the Maji Malgujari reservoir at Bhamanpetha village in the tehsil, where he announced a programme to construct 11,000 wells for irrigation.
Later, at a district review meeting at Alapalli, the CM announced that the government would allow reservation for Maoist-affected people in police recruitment in the district. He also said that local aspirants would get priority in raising the recently-sanctioned India Reserve Battalion.
At the Konsari programme, Fadnavis said, “Gadchiroli has been longing for development and not for guns and violence and the steel plant will serve the district by giving employment to local youths. Apart from vast forest resources, Gadchiroli also has huge mineral reserves and has the potential to lead itself on the path of development.”
Fadnavis said that the Centre had fast-tracked the work for Vadsa-Gadchiroli railway track. “We have plans to take the route upto Mancherial in Telangana and from there to Hyderabad,” he said.
The CM also complimented Llyods metal for adopting the Industrial Training Institute at Alapalli to train local youths in developing skills that will make them employable at the steel plant. Atul Khadilkar, director of the company, had earlier made the announcement during his speech.
Meanwhile, tribals from Surjagad and Bhamragad area of the district, where the entire iron-ore deposit is located, have voiced strong opposition to mines and mine-based industries. At a meeting at Dhodraj in Bhamragad tehsil, tribal activists warned the government of intensive agitation if it goes ahead with its plan to allow mining and setting up of steel units in the district.
“The chief minister’s act of inaugurating the iron plant was strongly opposed at the meeting. We will not allow the mining to be continued. False propaganda is being propagated that locals want the mineral-based industry to be set up in the district itself. The locals don’t want any such industry,” said tribal activist Mahesh Raut in a press note.