The Telegraph
Sunday , September 29 , 2013
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Videocon upbeat on Bengal project

Calcutta, Sept. 28: Videocon Industries will start work on its proposed integrated steel plant in Jamuria near Asansol by the end of the current fiscal.

Though the company still requires 400 acres, company chairman and managing director Venugopal Dhoot today said about 600 acres had already been tied up for the project. However, securing a coal linkage remains crucial.

As part of a memorandum of understanding signed with the previous Left Front government, Videocon is scheduled to set up a 3-million-tonne steel plant along with a 1200MW power unit.

However, it has missed several deadlines, with the project delayed by over five years.

“By the end of the year, it (project) should be possible. We have around 600 acres and want another 400 acres. That should not be a problem. For coal, chief minister Mamata Banerjee has recommended (our case) to the central government. It will take time,” Dhoot said.

“All over the country, projects are lagging. But now the coal linkage policy is expected to come through. Coal exchanges are also coming up. With a little help from the state government, we should be able to do it,” Dhoot said on the sidelines of the 182th annual general meeting of the Calcutta Chamber of Commerce.

According to Dhoot, the company has gone through the formalities to seek the clearance necessary for it to possess land over the ceiling in the state. It also favours industry buying land directly, toeing the line of the Trinamul Congress government.

The Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government had earlier promised to allocate the Nachan coal block in Burdwan district to Videocon. But after December 2007 no fresh coal block had been allocated in the state. The project hit a hurdle when Coal India opposed the project, claiming there was coal beneath the surface in Jamuria.

“The problem is not about land. It is about raw material, about coal linkages or an assurance. Chief minister Mamata Banerjee invited me to Calcutta to review the various projects. She was in Mumbai and said her cabinet would be there for all guidance,” he said.

Dhoot denied plans of delinking the power unit from the steel plant, saying that was not possible under the terms of the agreement (MoU).

Videocon had earlier planned to delink the power plant from steel and shift the former to Maithon (near Bengal-Jharkhand border).

In 2011, Annirudh Dhoot, director of Videocon Industries, had also expressed intentions to make a fresh presentation to the Bengal government for the proposed Rs 15,000-crore project.

Meanwhile, Dhoot said he would accompany Union heavy industries minister Praful Patel, who was present at the AGM, to meet Mamata Banerjee.