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West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will complete the unfinished task of predecessor Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee on Monday, when she unveils a plaque to inaugurate JSW’s cement plant at Salboni, in West Medinipur.
It will be the first industrial project from the JSW stable in Bengal, in the wings for more than a while. The original project, a 10-million-tonne steel plant and 1,600-Mw power plant, was first conceived in 2007 during the Left Front regime, when Bhattacharjee was chief minister. Around 4,300 acres were allocated, of which JSW purchased 450 acres. The investment was pegged at Rs 350 billion, Bengal’s single largest.
However, the global financial crisis and coal block deallocation stopped the project. After the change in government in 2011, it took time for the project to also settle.
In 2016, Banerjee laid the foundation stone for a cement plant. That plant would be inaugurated on Monday by the chief minister, with JSW group chairman Sajjan Jindal.
JSW Cement Managing Director Parth Jindal said the annual capacity was 2.4 million tonnes and the investment was Rs 8 billion. Another 1.2 million tonnes would be added and a captive power plant of 18-Mw would be set up. That would entail another investment of Rs 4 billion.
Around 155 people from land-loser families have been employed at the plant. The number of land-loser families, however, is 492. Jindal said another 100 jobs would be created at the Bengaluru FC football academy and a government super-specialty hospital that it would manage. “We are committed to giving 492 jobs,” he said.
The land utilisation for industry is now 134 acres. However, JSW is also doing a subsistence agriculture project, engaging land-loser families, as part of corporate social responsibility. That is using another 175 acres.
Jindal said there were also plans to set up a paint factory in may be two years, as also a cold rolling complex. Once the infrastructure is created, if other corporates wanted to use the land, and the government wanted it back, JSW would be open. However, for now, the JSW Cement would add a feather in Banerjee’s cap, ahead of the Bengal Global Business Summit on January 16, which is likely to see the participation of business leaders like L N Mittal and Mukesh Ambani, apart from Sajjan Jindal.