Industries and Commerce Minister Gudivada Amarnath said the government had so far spent about Rs.47 crore on land acquisition, environmental clearance (EC) and infrastructure works at Kadapa Steel Plant (KSP) site and a proposal for rail connectivity had been sent to the Ministry of Railways.
The government had alienated 3,149 acres to YSR Steel Corporation Limited, the special purpose vehicle formed in 2019 to set up the proposed 3 Million Tonnes Per Annum (MTPA) capacity integrated steel plant in YSR Kadapa district, he stated.
Replying to a question by TDP MLAs K. Atchannaidu and Dola Bala Veeranjaneya Swamy on the KSP status in the Legislative Assembly on Friday, Mr. Amarnath said while the EC had already been obtained, road connectivity (from NH-67), water supply, power and boundary wall works were in progress. A sum of approximately Rs.38 crore was paid towards compensation for the land procured.
He informed the House that the government was trying to rope in Liberty Steel Group (LSG) / Essar Steel as a Joint Venture (JV) partner and it was in the process of garnering funds from banks when the coronavirus came as a stumbling block.
The YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) government would go ahead with the steel plant construction in spite of the odds stacked up against it, he asserted.
Mr. Atchannaidu said the foundation for the KSP was laid by Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy way back in December 2019 and alleged that there had since been no progress. Not even a single brick was laid and compensation remained elusive for the land givers.
He sought to know what prompted the government to entrust the project to LSG in spite of being aware of the fact that the London-based company was headed towards bankruptcy.
When Mr. Atchannaidu raised the issue of privatisation of the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant, Speaker Thammineni Seetharam snubbed him by insisting that he should confine to the listed question (status of KSP).
Further, Mr. Atchannaidu alleged that the State could not mount pressure on the Central government to fulfill its obligation to establish the steel plant in compliance with the APRA.
Govt. firm, says Buggana
Intervening in the matter, Finance Minister Buggana Rajendranath Reddy said it was mentioned in the APRA that the feasibility of setting up the steel plant ‘may’ (but not ‘shall’) be explored, and the allocation of Rs.250 crore by the State government in the budget for the KSP showed its resolve to complete the project on its own if no JV partner came forward.
Attributing the delay in setting up the KSP to the impact of COVID on global steel business and some other extraneous factors, Mr. Rajendranath Reddy wondered what was the TDP government doing from 2014 to 2019 when it could have prevailed on the Centre to keep its promise to establish the steel plant.