In an effort to restore investor confidence, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday met JSW Steel vice-chairman and managing director Sajjan Jindal and assured that all issues from the government side would be sorted out in 15 days.
Jindal committed that he would commence work on the first phase of the Salboni project, entailing an investment of Rs 20,000 crore, once the issues from the government side were sorted out. The total project size is 10 million tonnes of steel making capacity and 1,600 Mw of power, making it the state’s largest investment at Rs 35,000 crore.
Last month, the West Bengal government vested the land directly purchased by JSW Bengal Steel at Salboni in West Medinipur with it, on the grounds that the company had violated land reform regulations.
The company’s 14Y approval that would enable it to hold land in excess of 24 acres, even on lease, is pending with the state. The Land Reforms Act places a ceiling of 24 acres on land acquisition, while Section-14Y of the Act exempts the ceiling in four cases: mill, factory, workshops and tea gardens. JSW Bengal Steel had acquired 294 acres ryotwari land directly from land owners without an approval from the land reforms department.
Emerging from a half-an-hour meeting, Jindal told reporters that the chief minister was ‘extremely supportive’ of the project. “She has a vision which very few chief ministers have. Industry and farmers must work together is her vision. She is very clear that industries must come without impacting farmers,” Jindal said. “We have not discussed details. But I have committed that we will start work on the project, which has been delayed by three years, once the land issues are resolved.” Jindal said.
SAIL chairman meets Mamata
Meanwhile, SAIL chairman C S Verma on Saturday called on Banerjee to apprise her about the status of the company’s ongoing modernization and expansion projects in West Bengal. All three steel production units of SAIL in West Bengal — IISCO, Durgapur and Alloy Steel Plant — are undergoing modernization and expansion at a cost of Rs 20,000 crore.