World’s largest steel maker ArcelorMittal which proposed to set up a 12mtpa capacity Greenfield steel plant in Orissa’s Keonjhar district at an investment of Rs 40,000 crore, today faced a volley of questions on its “actual intentions” and reasons behind “not making any investment” so far in the project.
The questions were asked by Orissa’s Industries and Steel and Mines minister Raghunath Mohanty and two senior bureaucrats at the first review meeting on progress of implementation of mega projects in the state.
“Media report says you are going slow on Orissa project and you have not denied it”, Mr. Mohanty queried at the meeting while company’s project chief in India, Mr. Sanak Mishra said ArcelorMittal was committed to its Orissa project.
The company which had signed MoU with the state government to set up the mega steel plant in December 2006, had given direct employment to only 12 persons.
Denying the report that ArcelorMittal had not made any investment, Mr. Mishra claimed that the company had already deposited Rs 25 crore with the government for land acquisition related activities and held gram sabhas in eight of the 15 would be affected villages under Patana tehsil in Keonjar district.
While the state government expressed its “displeasure” over the number of employment given to local people, Mr. Mishra said they had a “strong” R & R policy and would provide jobs to many people once activities began at the field.
Mr. Mohanty also wanted to know reasons behind company failing to set up an ITI (Industrial Training Institute) for training the local youths.
“We have already sent 78 youths including 16 girls for industrial training at Rourkela. Another batch of 19 youths are also ready to take training”, Mr. Mishra said assuring the government that the company would soon set up the ITI.
Asking the largest steel maker to “come up fast”, Mr. Mohanty wanted it to submit a report on its plan for coming year.
Mr. Mishra, on his part, denied the allegation that the project was delayed. “Procedures required time and therefore it appeared that the project is being delayed”, he told the minister adding that its application for the Prospecting license (PL) for raw material linkage be expedited by the government.
While the company required 8,000 acre of land, it had not been allotted any land for the purpose though granted allotment for water requirements.
Of the total land, 754.688 acre were forest land and 2,847.282 acre owned by the government while 4905.213 acre land would come from private persons.