Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, May 10:
At a time when the major steel projects are battling various bottlenecks and the steel sector is haunted by fears of a crisis in raw material supply following a possible ban on mining by the apex court , the visit of the Union Steel secretary and Mines secretary to Odisha on May 12 for a review meeting here , assumes great significance.
The review meeting scheduled on Monday at the State Secretariat would review the progress of the pending steel projects, including, of course, Posco.
The meeting to be presided over by Chief Secretary JK Mohapatra will discuss ways and means of addressing the bottlenecks and impediments relating to land acquisition, supply of raw material and construction work of the steel projects in the state.
“Issues related to mining, forest clearances, renewal of mining leases, long-term raw material linkages, e-auction of iron ore, environmental and other statutory clearances will be discussed at the review meeting. More importantly, the meeting is likely to discuss the fallouts of a possible ban on mining activities, since it will affect the entire steel sector in the state as well as the country,” said an official of the state Steel and Mines department.
While the meeting will review the progress of public sector undertakings including SAIL and NALCO, issues and concerns of private steel-producing units, such as Posco India, Tata Steel, Bhusan Steels, Jindal Steel and Power, Essar Steel Holding Limited, Monnet Ispat Energy, Visa Steel and Jindal Stainless will also be discussed.
It is to be noted here that a number of projects have been delayed due to pending statutory approvals, non-availability of raw material linkages, issues related to land acquisition and law and order problems.
The steel ministry has identified eight steel projects in Odisha which are suffering from inordinate delay- Posco India, Tata Steel, Essar Steel, Visa Steel, Jindal Steel & Power Ltd (JSPL), Uttam Galva Steel Ltd, Monnet Ispat & Energy Ltd and Amtek Metal & Mining Ltd.
Posco India has proposed a 12 million tonne per annum (mtpa) greenfield steel project near Paradeep on 4,004 acres of land. Out of this, the proponent needed 2,700 acres of land for the first phase to build an eight mtpa capacity plant. Though the government has acquired the land, it is yet to hand over the entire stretch to the company. Also, the extension of memorandum of understanding (MoU), which lapsed in June 2010, is still pending.
For Tata Steel’s six mtpa steel plant coming up at Kalinganagar, the renewal of existing mining leases and grant of fresh leases are pending at the state government level.
JSPL, too, is awaiting allocation of captive iron ore mines for its six mtpa integrated steel plant near Angul.