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Alumina project deal sealed

Ranchi, Nov. 7: The government has hit a jackpot with the signing of an MoU with Massachusetts-based firm TechAl Inc., which would make a phase-wise investment of Rs 6,500 crore — the highest in Jharkhand.

TechAl will set up an alumina plant and two captive power plants in the state. The MoU, signed in Delhi yesterday, stipulates the investment in two phases. In the first phase, the MNC would set up an alumina plant of 1 million metric tonne per annum capacity at the cost of Rs 3,500 crore, along with a Rs 500-crore 100-MW captive power plant.

In the second phase, the plant capacity would be doubled at the cost of Rs 2,000 crore with another Rs 500-crore 100-MW captive power plant. The project site would be decided after the company obtains a licence.

Chief minister Arjun Munda, who returned from Delhi today, said the company has sought 1,500 acres of land for the project, which the government has promised to make available at the “cost price” in case of private land and at “concessional mutually agreed rates” in case of government land.

The MoU was signed by industry secretary Vimal Kirti Singh and mines secretary S.D. Sharma on behalf of the government and Navtej Saluja on behalf of TechAl. The company has committed to rehabilitate the displaced population, if any, under the mandatory requirements.

Singh said the investment would generate direct employment for 3,000 people and indirect employment for 7,000 people. He said the company plans to start the first phase of commercial production by 2007-08.

The MNC will have to float its subsidiary in India as part of the mandatory FDI requirements. Good bauxite availability has attracted the company to Jharkhand, he said.

The government has promised to provide to the company all concessions available under the Industrial Policy, 2001, and “mega investment policy”.

Singh said the company, which has an annual turnover of $197 billion, will enter into a 20-year buy-back agreement for its products.

“At present, work is in progress on investments of about Rs 1,200 crore in the state, while projects worth Rs 12,000 crore are under consideration of the government. We hope that the latest MoU will trigger a chain reaction in investments in the state,” the official said.

On revival of the ailing Heavy Engineering Corporation, the chief minister said the government would soon hold a second round of discussion to end the deadlock. “HEC’s cumulative liabilities is Rs 1,500 crore, including Rs 615 crore as debts and interest payments. If the centre waives the debt component, the state government would offer relaxations in the component due to it by HEC,” he added.

Munda said the panchayat elections would be held before the Lok Sabha polls while “keeping in mind” the Jharkhand High Court directive to complete the exercise by March next year.

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