Prime Minister Manmohan Singhs call for ramping up the steel industrys capacity notwithstanding,a crucial meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Investment (CCI) that was to deliberate on stranded projects was forced to jettison,at the very last minute,proposals for five major steel projects entailing an investment of close to Rs 1.35 lakh crore. Reason: lack of requisite documentation.
The five projects were among the ten projects including power,aluminium,which were dropped before the meeting owing to lack of inter-ministerial coordination.
The steel ministry had recently told the department of financial services (DFS) that JSPLs steel project at Patratu in Jharkhand and Ruias-promoted Essar Steels Orissa unit are not fit to be placed before the CCI. The DFS,in its note to the CCI on September 12,deleted these two projects from the list,which was to be considered on Tuesday. JSPL would invest close to Rs 35,000 crore in Patratu for 6 MT steel project,while Essar has invested over Rs 20,000 crore.
The DFS also omitted the JSW Ispat at Dolvi (worth Rs 25,000 crore) in Maharashtra,JSW Vijaynagar Steels (worth Rs 40,000 crore) iron ore mine application in Karnatakas Donimalai range and proposal to ensure gas supply to Essar Steels captive power plant at Hazira. Arguing for omission of these projects from the CCI list,a senior steel ministry official said that ministries like environment and mines are yet to respond to the specific issues raised by them on the projects,thereby rendering them incomplete.
Chairing a meeting of the committee on manufacturing on July 9,Singh had suggested finalising a growth strategy for helping domestic companies produce 300 MT steel by the middle of the next decade. He had said that pro-active facilitation of projects in the pipeline would be taken up on priority jointly by the steel ministry and the investment facilitation mechanism in Cabinet secretary Ajit Seths office.