Monday, 30th October 2017

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Jindal project ready to roll

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  • Published 11.07.12

Calcutta, July 10: Work on Bengal’s largest industrial venture is likely to get under way in October as the Jindals and the Mamata Banerjee government have resolved differences over the Rs 35,000-crore steel and power project five years after it was conceived.

Biswadip Gupta, the chief executive of JSW Bengal Steel, the company executing the project, said an agreement with the government was expected in 10 days, beginning a four-year countdown for completion of the initial phase.

“The draft agreement is finalised. Today we discussed some of the points in the supplementary development agreement and the 189 acres acquired by the West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation (WBIDC). We have come to an agreement,” Gupta said after meeting industry minister Partha Chatterjee and WBIDC managing director Nandini Chakravorty.

“Several issues on which the parties were yet to reach an agreement were discussed and we are positive about the outcome of the meeting. The chief minister wanted to hasten the project and we are hoping to ink the agreement soon,” Chatterjee said.

The Jindals and the state will sign two agreements, for which Sajjan Jindal, the owner of the company, may come down.

One will be a land-lease agreement the WBIDC will sign to rent out 189 acres to JSW Bengal at Salboni in West Midnapore. It will also sign a supplementary development agreement on top of the original deal between the Left Front government and the company in 2007 to include benefits to land-givers, timeline and default clauses.

The Jindals will have four years from signing the agreement to build a 3-million-tonne steel plant and a 300MW power project at a cost of Rs 20,000 crore. An additional seven million tonnes and 1,300 MW have to be put up in another eight years.

The company was supposed to complete the first phase by now but the economic slowdown of 2008 coupled with Maoist insurgency in the area delayed the project. The political change of guard held up the project for another year.

Mamata was keen to ensure that the company did not get away with three coal blocks allotted to it during the Left regime, but the Jindals declined to negotiate on this.

They have now agreed that if they do not expand steel capacity beyond 3 million tonnes, they will not be entitled to the entire production from these mines.