Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, Nov 30:
While the Naveen Patnaik led government has been signing memoramdums of understanding (MoUs) with companies at the drop of a hat, only about 50% of the projects have taken off so far. Of the 92 projects for which the Odisha government has signed MoUs in the last 10 years, work has begun on just 48 so far.
This was revealed in the state Assembly on Saturday by Industries minister Niranjan Pujari in a reply to a starred question of independent MLA Pratap Chandra Sarangi.
The projects that have started production include 35 steel projects, two power projects and one project each of cement, aluminium and auto-ancillary project, the minister said that the other projects have not yet taken off due to difficulties over land acquisition.
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, causing a serious setback to the industrialisation drive in Odisha, which emerged as the second best destination for private investments after Gujarat until December 2012
It is to be noted that the world’s largest steel maker ArcelorMittal had scrapped the 12-million-tonne-a-year plant in Keonjhar in July after inordinate delay in getting land and securing captive iron ore resources.
VAL is running from pillar to post to get bauxite to feed its I million tonne refinery plant at Lanjigarh. In an interview to a private television channel two days back, Chairman of Vedanta Resources Anil Agrawal has also expressed regret for investing in the project.
Even though the government has managed to acquire 2700 acres of land for the proposed Posco project to start its first phase construction, it is yet to finalise the clauses in the revised MoU to be signed with the Korean steel giant. Besides resistance from the local people, the biggest foreign direct investment project is yet to get various clearances to start construction work.
However, the state has successfully attracted investment accounting for about 12 per cent of the total private investment lined up in the country. Odisha has attracted private investments worth Rs 8 lakh crore as of December 2012 with the state’s total outstanding investment at Rs 11.7 lakh crore.