Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee with Shyam Steel chairman Shyam Sunder Beriwala in Purulia on Tuesday. Picture by Biswarup Dutta
Raghunathpur, Feb. 17: The Nano may have roared off into the horizon in a plume of dust, but the Singur model will stay on.
Bengal intends to cling to the model for industrial development that the Tatas spawned with the Singur project, which was scrapped last September.
The Bengal government has decided to use the same template for the large steel projects to be established in the state.
Under the model, the ancillary and downstream industries will be clubbed with the mother plant at the same location.
The state government intends to acquire more land than is required for the mother plant, or the anchor investor. It will then distribute the surplus land to small units, which will depend for raw materials on the mother plant.
The state government believes that this model will create more jobs than a stand-alone plant. The jobs can be farmed out among the people who give up their land.
The West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation (WBIDC) — the state agency which will acquire land — plans to build three steel parks in Purulia around three mother plants.
We are going to acquire land for steel parks. In Purulia, such parks will come up based on anchor investors such as Jai Balaji, Adhunik and Shyam Steel, said Subrata Gupta, managing director of the WBIDC.
Gupta was speaking on the sidelines of the foundation stone laying ceremony for Shyam Steels 1.1-million-tonne steel plant at Raghunathpur in Purulia, about 250 km from Calcutta.
Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee gave some indication of how beneficial the model would be: he said 2,110 persons would get direct employment at the Shyam Steel project, while about 11,000 others would secure employment outside the plant.
There has been opposition to the industrialisation drive. But as the ruling party, we cannot sit idle in the face of such opposition. Industry will create the jobs the young generation wants, he said.
The authorities have planned a steel park on 3,600 acres linked to the Jai Balaji plant. Parks have also been planned around the Shyam Steel and Adhunik plants on plots measuring 2,500 acres and 1,200 acres, respectively.
In each project, 15 to 20 per cent of the area will be earmarked for downstream and ancillary industries.
Lalit Beriwala, director of Shyam Steel, said his company would start construction work even if the WBIDC hands over half the land required.
Bengal industry minister Nirupam Sen today said the global economic meltdown might have an impact on the proposed steel plants in Bengal. Though Jindals are going slow on their project, no one else has yet informed us about any pull-out or go-slow, he said in Durgapur.