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Since 1st March, 1999
 
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Hope for Videocon plant

Calcutta, Oct. 9: Videocon Industries will make a fresh presentation to the Bengal government by the end of this year on its proposed Rs 15,000-crore steel and power project at Jamuria near Asansol.

“We have kept 90 to 100 days to prepare a fresh presentation (on the project). Then we will take the case to the state government. We will also see whether they can expedite our case,” said Annirudh Dhoot, director of Videocon Industries, on the sidelines of an Assocham event here today.

He said two weeks of the proposed 100 days had already passed.

Videocon and the state government had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the 3-million-tonne and 1,200-megawatt project more than three years ago. In the initial stages the project faced opposition from Coal India, which claimed that there was coal beneath the surface.

Videocon then realigned the structure of the project by delinking the power plant from the steel and shifting it to Maithon (near Bengal-Jharkhand border). As a result, the land requirement for the first phase of the project was reduced from 3,200 acres to 2,000 acres.

With the change of guard in Bengal, the company is taking a fresh look at the project.

Dhoot said they would need to look at the new land acquisition policy of the Mamata Banerjee-led government, which will help the company take the decision on whether to go for fresh acquisitions at Jamuria or to relocate the project entirely to another place within the state.

“We have two options. The first one is to come up with the phase one of the project (at Jamuria) where we have already privately acquired some land. If the government can identify some area close to our land, then we can go ahead with the first phase.”

“The other option could be to look for an entirely new location within the state,” said Dhoot, adding that Videocon still remained committed to the project.

Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee had earlier categorically stated that no land would be forcibly acquired for any industry. If in the event no additional land can be acquired for the project at Jamuria or anywhere else in the state, the entire project will go into a limbo.

Meanwhile, Videocon is going for fresh bidding for coal blocks in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand and is looking to link those blocks with the Bengal steel and power project.

Bengal cluster

Assocham has signed an agreement with the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation to set up a cluster of food and agro-industries in two districts of Bengal under a public-private partnership model.

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