Bhubaneswar, Oct 17;
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday sought to wash his hands off l’affaire Hindalco and put the blame on the Centre instead.
A statement released by the Chief Minister’s Office said the recommendation for the Talabira II coal block in Jharsuguda district in favour of Hindalco, an Aditya Birla group company, was made ‘keeping the best interest of the state in mind’.
“The company was setting up an aluminium smelter of a capacity of 2, 60, 00 tonnes per annum in Sambalpur district, adjoining Jharsuguda, for which they needed a captive power plant of 900 MW capacity. Since power is a major raw material for an aluminium project and such a project has the added benefit of promoting value addition in the state, thereby adding to our revenue and generating employment, we had asked the Central government to examine the request of Hindalco,” the statement said.
The recommendation was entirely in line with the state government’s policy of encouraging value addition in the state rather than sending raw material to other states, the statement said.
In any case, the final decision on allocating the coal block to MCL, NLC and Hindalco in November 2005 was taken by the Central government, it pointed out in an effort to pin the blame on the Centre.