The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Naveen cloud on Tata Steel lease

Bhubaneswar, July 11: The Orissa government has decided to move the Centre for scrapping the iron ore mining leases given to Tata Steel and Larsen and Toubro (L&T) after they failed to set up steel plants.

The decision was taken at a high-level meeting presided over by chief minister Naveen Patnaik at the secretariat yesterday.

Earlier, the state government had recommended the Centre scrap mining leases given to the two companies when they went back on their proposal to set up steel plants. They had taken the lease for mines with 4 million tonnes of iron ore stored in them.

But the companies managed to stay implementation of the recommendation by approaching the Central Industrial Tribunal. The 10-million-tonne steel project at Gopalpur in Ganam district proposed by Tata did not take off after residents refused to move out.

So far, 22 companies have shown interest in setting up steel plants in the state. After close scrutiny of their documents, the papers of 10 steel projects with an estimated investment of Rs 44,000 crore are pending at different stages.

The state has signed over a dozen memorandums of understanding with different companies in the past 10 years for establishment of steel plants. But not a single plant has come up so far.

The meeting also decided that in future any such MoU would be signed only after the approval of project proposals by a high-power committee headed by the chief secretary. The companies would have to mention schedules for completion of different phases of the projects.

The state-run Industrial Promotion and Investment Corporation Limited will prepare financial feasibility reports within 10 days of a company approaching the state government and submit them to the steel and mines department and the Industrial Development Corporation (Idco).

Idco will take immediate steps to provide the government land for the project if available or else the steel and mines department should initiate steps to acquire private land for the project.

The government has also decided to formulate a specific policy to simplify the rules for setting up steel plants in the state.

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