The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Mittal invites Koda to London

Ranchi, Oct. 22: Steel tycoon Laxmi Niwas Mittal has invited chief minister Madhu Koda to London for “advanced discussions” on his maiden greenfield steel project. Koda, however, expects him to come to Ranchi again and see the things through his own eyes, before proceeding further.

The steel tycoon spoke to the chief minister over the telephone a couple of days back and repeated his commitments for the execution of the proposed steel project in Jharkhand.

He also thanked him for renewing the tenure of his MoU signed last year and initiating steps for the award of mining leases and coal blocks.

Mittal again showed keen interest in acquiring iron ore reserves at Chiria mines. Koda though assured him all possible help on the front, but in the same vein he flatly said that things were beyond his control at the moment as the matter was sub-judice.

Koda, however, offered him other iron ore reserves and even a partnership with Jharkhand State Mineral Development Corporation (JSMDC). At this, Mittal invited Koda to London for further discussions. But Koda stressed that Mittal ought to come to Ranchi again also to clear confusion of sorts related to his Jharkhand project.

Koda confirmed to The Telegraph that he was in regular touch with Mittal and the latter was keen to execute his Jharkhand project at the earliest. That Mittal was all set to get the coal blocks soon and the state government had kept options open to help him secure adequate iron ore reserves to begin his steel project.

“He still seems to be more interested about the Chiria mines. But I clearly explained him that the state government as well as the government at the Centre can do little at the moment, since the matter was sub-judice. He, however, has wide ranging choices available, including a co-partnership with the JSMDC,” Koda added.

Koda maintained that Mittals had “virtually” completed their site selection in Jharkhand and there was “much seriousness” in their efforts to begin the steel project. He argued that the absence of resettlement and rehabilitation (RR) policy was not “greatly responsible” for the delay in the execution of MoUs and added that the RR policy would be finalised soon.

“Enthused by Naveen Jindal’s efforts, his elder brother Sajjan Jindal and Ruias from Essar Steel too have made new advances. We have forwarded their proposals to the Centre for The industrial giants, too, have now realised that acquiring land in any part of the country is an uphill task and that they can not solely depend upon the government. We would be there to ensure a fair deal to all land donors,” he added. Replying to another question, Koda said that he was not in a position to go to London immediately for a meeting with Mittal, due to various reasons.

But he would leave no stone unturned to ensure that Mittal really began his groundwork in Jharkhand. At the same time, he was also committed to ensure fair deal to all the potential investors, who have agreed to set up new industries in the state.

“In fact, I would love to go to London for another meeting with Mittal, if it is not possible for him to come to Ranchi. For the sake of Jharkhand, I am always ready to go to any extent. But before this, I earnestly appeal to all concerned to allow me do my job smoothly,” said Koda.

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