The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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SAIL offers college revival

Ranchi, May 15: Public sector giant Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) has offered to revive a polytechnic in the chief minister’s constituency bordering Gua in West Singhbhum.

The move is widely viewed as a step to placate Madhu Koda in view of the legal battle being waged by the PSU and the state government over control of Chiria iron ore reserve in the same area. SAIL sources, however, claim that this is merely a part of the company’s renewed thrust to corporate social responsibility. They also point out that while Indian Iron & Steel Company (IISCO) had a mine at Gua for long, its merger with SAIL is not even two-year-old.

The state government had cancelled three of the six lease agreements with IISCO on the ground that the company was not serious about mining iron ore. It planned to grant the lease to other suitors who are anxious to get access to Chiria, which is said to have 2 billion tonnes of some of the world’s finest iron ore. The dispute is pending before the Supreme Court.

SAIL has undertaken expansion of the Bokaro Steel plant and has also offered to set up a greenfield project in the state. It claims that the Chiria reserves are central to its expansion plans to raise production from 14 million tonnes to 25 million tonnes by the year 2012.

In this backdrop, the company’s offer to revive the polytechnic has assumed significance. SAIL, however, will be spending a pittance on re-building the infrastructure. A more serious effort would have included the offer to revive several other polutechnics in different parts of the state.

The polytechnic at Gua had abruptly closed down in the early ’80s after the erstwhile Bihar government stopped funding it. Without any maintenance for over two decades, the structure crumbled and is now in shambles.

SAIL has constituted a team to coordinate with the district administration. The psu will provide the infrastructure and hand it over to the state government to run. The company shall also help identify courses relevent to the investment being made in the state.

The chief minister had asked SAIL to revive the institute so that the educated unemployed youth in his constituency could get vocational training.

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