Hindalco to acquire 500 Sonahatu acres for 900MW plant
|A Hindalco unit at Lohardaga. Telegraph picture|
Ranchi, April 21: Hindalco Industries Limited, an Aditya Birla Group company, is on the verge of acquiring about 500 acres in Sonahatu under Ranchi district — the company’s proposed site for setting up a 3.60 lakh tonne per annum aluminium smelter unit and a 900MW captive power plant.
The company officials are now awaiting a go-ahead from the Ranchi deputy commissioner, having received a nod from the state government to purchase a sizeable chunk of land belonging to tribal villagers under Mundari-Khuttkatti rights.
Mundari-Khuttkatti lands are plots developed for agricultural purposes by tribals over decades.
“We have completed the formalities to register the plot in the company’s name after a consent from the state government. A final go-ahead from the deputy commissioner is awaited,” assistant vice-president (corporate affairs) of Hindalco Industries Limited R.P. Sharma told The Telegraph.
After being constantly prodded by the industry department for its alleged fickleness with regard to setting up the proposed plant, the company has also purchased about 50 acres from non-tribals in Sonahatu block.
“We are very serious. We have already employed a renowned consultant for the power plant and we will use technology imported from France to set up the aluminium smelter plant,” added Sharma.
Industry secretary A.P. Singh confirmed the developments. “Hindalco is inching closer to acquiring the 500-acre plot in Sonahatu block. According to my knowledge, revenue authorities have given their consent to the purchase of the Mundari-Khuttkatti land, after taking an opinion from the law department,” he said.
Ranchi DC K.K. Soan, who holds the additional charge of vice-chairman of Ranchi Regional Development Authority (RRDA), is busy acting on Jharkhand High Court’s order vis-à-vis removal of encroachments from the capital.
Additional collector Birsai Oraon said they would look into the transfer of land to Hindalco soon.
Sources said Section 241 of the Chotanagpur Tenancy Act 1908 permitted transfer of Mundari-Khuttkatti land for certain purposes, but with the prior permission of the DC concerned.
Earlier, the industry department had directed Hindalco to acquire at least 200 acres by October 31, 2010, as an expression of its interest in setting up a plant.
The state administration had also threatened to cancel the MoUs of a few mega-sector investors if they failed to purchase a minimum land area of 200 acres directly from villagers.
Hindalco has been demanding 4,000 acres for setting up the aluminium smelter and captive power plant. It has already been allotted mining rights at Tubed coal block in Latehar district, where it has joined hands with Tata Power to exploit ore.
The company, in a joint venture with Tata Power, had set up Tubed Coal Mining Company. Hindalco’s share in the company is 60 per cent while that of Tata Power is 40 per cent.
The company has also proposed to invest a whopping Rs 30,000 crore in its smelter and power plants in the state.
Moreover, Tata Power will also establish a 2,000MW capacity thermal power unit in Tiruldih area near Chandil in Seraikela-Kharsawan district.
The company has also been sanctioned a 5MW capacity power connection in its Sonahatu site, during the construction phase of the aluminium and power plant.