With mega steel investors in Odisha facing a litany of hurdles beginning from Land acquisition to grant of mineral concession, the Union steel ministry has sought information on action taken by the state government to ease their problems.
The ministry will take stock of the concerns of steel investors ahead of the meeting of the inter-ministerial group to be held under the chairmanship of Union steel secretary on July 9 in New Delhi.
For Posco, the biggest FDI investor in the country, the key issues included expediting land acquisition work and ensuring law and order at the project site near Paradip, where the company intended to set up 12 million tonne steel plant on 4,004 acres of land.
Land acquisition is a major irritant for the world's fourth largest steel maker. The state government, meanwhile, has acquired 2,000 acres for the project, but it has handed over only 500 acres to Posco India. The company said, it was ready to start construction for first two phases of the project with a combined capacity of eight million tonne on receipt of 2,700 acres of land and later expand the capacity to 12 million tonne after getting the remainder land.
Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) which has an operational unit at Rourkela had inter alia sought forest clearance in respect of Bolani iron ore mines and Barsua-Kalta mines. It had also demanded exempting use of transit pass for despatch of iron ore to SAIL steel plants for captive use.
Jindal Steel & Power Ltd (JSPL) has voiced its opposition to the state government’s proposal to collect an upfront charge of Rs 2.5 crore per cusec of water at the time of approval of allocation. Claiming that such exorbitant charge was not levied by any other state, JSPL has demanded reconsideration of the move.
The company has also objected to the ten-fold jump in water cess by the state government from Rs 200 to Rs 2,046 per 0.1 millon gallons of water, underscoring the need to slash this cost substantially to make operations viable.
JSPL has commissioned the plate mill of its proposed six million tonne per annum steel plant at Angul. The company has completed construction work of two units of its 1,000 MW power plant proposed at the same location.
Another major steel investor- Bhushan Steel Ltd has outlined the need for having a clear programme of land acquisition for important projects in the state. It has sought identification of government land patches for setting up integrated rehabilitation townships in Talcher coalfields and expeditious processing of prospecting license applications for coal and iron ore blocks and forest clearance applications.
Bhushan Steel has already achieved capacity of three million tonne, out of the envisaged output of six million tonne at its plant at Meramandali in Dhenkanal district.
Steel sector in Odisha has already seen grounding of investments of Rs 56,090.34 crore, achieving a steel capacity of 8.66 million tonne per annum (mtpa) out of the total envisaged capacity of 83.66 mtpa.