Home ECONOMY NALCO relents; will not shift smelter out of Odisha

NALCO relents; will not shift smelter out of Odisha

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Odisha Sun Times Business Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Sep 14:

After threatening to pull its proposed Rs 30, 000 crore project for setting up an aluminium smelter and a power plant at Darlipali in Sundargarh district out of Odisha, public sector behemoth NALCO has now come back from the brink and agreed to have it at the place decided, saving the Naveen Patnaik government another major embarrassment after the fiasco over the Posco, Vedanta and Arcellor-Mittal projects.

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The rapprochement came after a telephonic discussion between Odisha industries Minister Debi Prasad Mishra and NALCO CMD Tapan Chand, sources in the state government said. The two discussed the Navaratna company’s investment plans in the state and the bottlenecks the company is facing while trying to implement them.

Under fire after POSCO and Vedanta put their large projects in cold storage, the Minister assured Chand all possible assistance from the government in carrying out its investment plans in the state, which also includes the expansion of its Damanjodi facility, the sources said.

Notably, Chand had yesterday threatened to pull out of Odisha and invest elsewhere should the government not support its plans.

“We are trying to fulfil all their demands as provided by the law. NALCO CMD informed that they have been allocated a coal block and are interested in setting up a smelter and power plant. Besides, they are considering expanding the Damanjodi unit. We will certainly extend all cooperation to them,” assured Mishra.

On his part, the NALCO CMD, who had threatened a pull-out just 24 hours ago, also struck a conciliatory note, saying; “All of NALCO’s productions ranging from mining to aluminium have been in Odisha. We would like to make Odisha our priority for investment. We are hopeful that the government would help us as and when we need.”

As per government rules, NALCO needs to apply through Industrial Promotion & Investment Corporation of Odisha Limited (IPICOL) for setting up a new industry. The project file then needs to be approved by a single window clearance committee chaired by Chief Secretary before it is sent to the High level Empowered Committee chaired by the Chief Minister himself for final approval. NALCO would be able to set up the new plant only after the approval from the High level Empowered Committee.