Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Jajpur, Nov 18:
Overcoming controversies and hurdles, the second steel plant of Tata Steel in Kalinganagar, Odisha was inaugurated today by Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.
Naveen Patnaik dedicated the largest single location green field project in India to the people of Odisha.
“As the various facilities of this steel plant are progressively commissioned, I am sure it will not only provide a fillip to the industrialisation of the state but also contribute to the local economy and the development of Kalinganagar and its nearby areas,” said Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik after inaugurating the plant.
Looking forward to the investments brought to the state, the Naveen Patnaik said, ” I am told that the Tata Steel is planning to expand the capacity of Kalinganagar plant to 16 million tonnes per annum by the year 2025 with cumulative investment of about Rs one lakh crore. I also understand that it proposes to invest Rs 2300 crore for scaling up of the capacity of its captive Khandabandh iron ore mine. I look forward to further investment in these projects as well as the ancillary and downstream projects.”
Naveen Patnaik drew criticism for his visit to Kalinganagar after 9 years, making it his first visit after the 2006 firing incident to start the Rs 25,000 crore project. The plant is spread across 2200 acres has a production capacity of 6 million tonne per annum.
“The Kalinganagar Steel plant is yet another journey of growth and development for Odisha, Tata Group and Tata Steel. It is indeed a great pleasure to dedicate this plant to the State of Odisha today. This plant is our key commitment towards nation building and an effort to ensure sustainable growth. I am confident that the plant will achieve global benchmarks in steel production, and at the same time will remain committed to growth and development of the State of Odisha,” said Tata Group Chairman, Cyrus P Mistry.
Tata Steel had inked a MoU with the Odisha government to set up the 6 million tonne steel plant at Kalinganagar in November, 2004. But agitation by the land holders in January, 2006, whose land was acquired for the project turned violent and the consequent police firing claimed the lives of 14 tribals , the project was held up till 2010.
Earlier in the day, Kalinganagar Bistapita Birodhi Janamanch, an outfit protesting against the project, held a rally at the place of firing, Congress, BJP and as well as locals joined the protests, while former Congress MLA Sarat Rout along with some party workers were arrested during protests by the police.
Meanwhile, the district administration has beefed up security arrangements in Kalinganagar area.
“We have deployed 13 platoons of forces and have asked for another 5 platoons of forces ahead of CM’s visit to the district. Two DSPs, five inspectors and 30 sub-inspectors have been mobilised from other districts to maintain law and order,” Pradipta Sahani, ASP of Kalinganagar said.