Special Correspondent

The company may go in for a mix of internal accruals, equity and debt.

KOLKATA: Jindal Steel may have reworked its West Bengal project in view of the global meltdown, but it has no plans to change the implementation schedule of the project inaugurated at Salboni on Sunday, in the wake of the mine blast by suspected Maoists, 8 km from the project site. “The project is on track” senior company officials said.

“We will go ahead to complete the boundary wall around the project site and start work on upgrading the land after that,” Biswadip Gupta, Joint Managing Director and CEO, JSW Bengal Steel Ltd, said. The project is being set up on 4,500 acres of near-barren land at Salboni in West Medinipur district in the south-western part of the State which is also considered to be a Maoist stronghold. The blast damaged the pilot car of the convoy carrying Union Steel Minister, the Minister of State, West Bengal Industry Minister and also Sajjan Jindal and his brother Navin Jindal MP.

10 million tonne plant

JSW signed the agreement for setting up a 10-million tonne steel plant with the West Bengal Government in January 2007.

It launched its corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities in the region soon after getting the land of which about 500 acres was through direct acquisition.

“Over the last one year, the company has been providing free medicines to the people around the project site and will start operating ambulance service from this week”.

Projects on cattle rearing, watershed management and providing potable water are also under implementation.

Local youth are being employed in the construction of the 38 km boundary wall and around 5 lakh man-days of employment has already been created in the region, the company said.

Rs. 35,000 cr. outlay

JSW, which is looking at an investment of Rs. 35,000 crore on this project, has reworked it in tandem with the downturn in the steel industry. Thus, for now, about Rs. 4,000 crore would be invested for setting up a pelletisation plant and facilities for beneficiating coal and iron ore.

“We have already begun placing orders and it would be a composite design,” Mr. Gupta said adding that the company’s experience gained during the expansion of the Bellary plant in Karnataka would be leveraged for Salboni.

Financing options

As to whether the company would arrange for additional security for its employees and its contractors, Mr. Gupta said this had not been decided as yet.

Mr. Jindal said on Sunday that the project would be implemented in three phases with the first steel-making unit coming up in 2012 with the entire project getting completed by 2015.

The company has received an offer letter on its financing options for the project and may go in for a mix of internal accruals, equity and debt — domestic and foreign for the project.