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Chhattisgarh CM urges PM to reconsider Nagarnar steel plant privatisation

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging him to revisit decision on privatisation of NMDC's under-construction steel plant in Nagarnar, Bastar

bhupesh baghel

Press Trust of India New Delhi
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging him to revisit decision on privatisation of NMDC's under-construction steel plant in Nagarnar, Bastar.
In a letter to the prime minister on Wednesday, Baghel said the privatisation move will deeply hurt the expectations of lakhs of tribals and Naxalites might take undue advantage of the situation.
The country's largest iron ore miner NMDC, under the Ministry of Steel, is setting up its first steel plant with a capacity of 3 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) in Nagarnar. The plant was in the list of public sector enterprises lined up by the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) for strategic divestment.
However, the proposal for strategic divestment of the steel plant was later deferred by an Inter-Ministerial Group for Divestment until the unit becomes operational.
In the letter, the chief minister apprised Modi of the situation in the state with regard to the Centre's plan of privatising the plant.
In this August 26 letter, Baghel said there is discontent among the locals over the Centre's plan of privatising the plant being built at a cost of Rs 20,000 crore. He requested the Centre to reconsider the decision.
"The news of privatisation of the plant has agitated the tribal community and there is a feeling of dissatisfaction against the governance and administration among them," the chief minister wrote.
He further said the "state government has been successful in curbing Naxal activities with considerable efforts. But, under these circumstances, the possibility of Naxalites taking undue advantage of tribal discontent due to privatisation of Nagarnar steel plant cannot be ruled out".
The central government should let the Nagarnar plant continue as a public sector enterprise, so that it helps in improving the standard of living of the tribals of the Bastar region, the letter said.
The state, he said, was extremely enthusiastic that commencement of the plant will not only ensure utilisation of minerals in Bastar but also provide an opportunity to contribute in nation building, Baghel said.
The state, he said, was also hopeful that the industrial unit will also provide thousands of direct and indirect employment opportunities.
It would be very unfortunate for Chhattisgarh that the proposed public sector steel plant in the tribal area of the state would be privatised, Baghel said adding that "it will deeply hurt the expectations of lakhs of tribals".
He informed that about 610 hectares of private land has been acquired for the Nagarnar steel plant.
In December 2019, he had said that the land belonged to the tribes and they gave the land thinking that a public sector industry would come on it and people will get jobs. It was not given for privatisation, Baghel had said.
In the letter to Modi, Baghel further said, "PESA Act, 1996 is in force to protect the interests of tribals and their natural rights in Chhattisgarh. The state government is always committed to protect the interests of the tribals of Chhattisgarh."

The public sector undertakings (PSUs) "were taken forward by our guide former Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru, and seeing their importance, the Government of Chhattisgarh will always support them in their progress".
He also informed that leases of NMDC's four iron ore mines at Bailadila have already been extended for the next 20 years by the state government, so that new employment opportunities could be in the Bastar region.
Meanwhile, NMDC has informed the stock exchanges that its board of directors at a meeting held on August 27 accorded an in-principle approval to the proposal to demerge its NMDC Iron & Steel Plant (NISP), Nagarnar, Chhattisgarh.
"NISP is steel wing (business) of NMDC. Nagarnar project is under NISP. The board has approved its demerger," a company official explained.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Aug 28 2020 | 4:26 PM IST

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