OST Business Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Dec 6:
Odisha may have replaced Gujarat as the most favoured investment destination in the country. But when it comes to the projects actually going on stream, the state’s record does not inspire much confidence. And it is not the opposition or the media, but the state government itself which is making the claim.
Replying to a question from Korei MLA Priti Ranjan Ghadai during Question Hour in the Assembly on Friday, Industries minister Niranjan Pujari revealed that of the 92 memorandums of understanding (MoUs), worth Rs 5,01,026 crore, signed by the government since it came to power in 2000, only 40 projects worth Rs 1,84,108.07 crore (36.75%) have started production so far. Of the 92 projects, work has begun on just 48 so far while 40 projects have started production, he said.
The fate of steel projects in particular has been dismal owing to ore crisis and other problems including inordinate delays in land acquisition and various clearances.
Steel and Mines Minister Rajanikant Singh told the Assembly that out of 50 steel projects for which the state government has signed MoUs, only 30 have commenced partial or full production so far adding up to a cumulative capacity of 12.66 million tonne per annum.
As many companies are running from pillar to post to feed their plants in the absence of ore which has affected the growth rate and employment of the state, Industry Minister Pujari informed the House that the inter-ministerial committee, constituted for long term supply of ore linkage to state based industries, had made recommendations to sort out the problems.
“The report has been submitted to the chief minister and is under the active consideration of the state government. It will take steps in this regard soon,” said Pujari.
Three big ticket projects – Posco, ArcellorMittal and Vedanta Aluminium Ltd (VAL) – are among the projects which have not seen the light of the day so far. Arcellor-Mittal has, in the meantime, abandoned its plans to have a 12 MTPA steel plant in Keonjhar district in July this year citing inordinate delay in getting land and securing captive iron ore mines. VAL is running from pillar to post to get bauxite to feed its one million tonne refinery plant at Lanjigarh while Posco has had to scale down its 12 MTPA plant at Paradip to 8 MTPA.