Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Friday, Nov 05, 2004
Bengal promises full support for Jindal Steel project
Mr Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee (right), Chief Minister of West Bengal, presenting the Lifetime Achievement Award to Mr O.P. Jindal, Chairman, Jindal Steel & Power Ltd, at the Metals 2004 conference organised by the Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry, in Kolkata on Thursday. Parth Sanyal
Kolkata , Nov. 4
THE West Bengal Government has assured Jindal Iron & Steel Company Ltd (JISCO) of all help to implement its plan to set up a five-million-tonne-per-annum (MPTA) capacity integrated steel plant in the State.
This was assured by the State's Minister in-charge of Commerce and Industry and Chairman of West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation (WBIDC), Mr Nirupam Sen, in the presence of the JISCO's Chairman and Managing Director, Mr Sajjan Jindal, who, earlier on Thursday, announced his company's plans to set up a greenfield steel plant in the State, entailing an investment of about Rs 12,000 crore in two phases.
Addressing a press conference jointly with Mr Jindal, Mr Sen said that the State Government had already identified over 3,000 acres of land near Kharagpur for the proposed steel plant. If the identified land is not found suitable, some other areas in Bankura and Purulia districts can be offered.
Mr Jindal said that technical experts from his company would soon visit the identified site, while efforts were being made to get permanent captive linkages for iron ore and coal mines. If necessary, a part of the coal requirement could also be imported, he added.
Since West Bengal lacks iron ore deposits, attempts are being made to source iron ore from Jharkhand or from Orissa. Mr Sen said the appropriate West Bengal authorities would talk to their counterparts in Jharkhand to expedite the finalisation of iron ore mining linkages.
Earlier, talking to reporters on the sidelines of the Metals 2004- Second Annual International Conference on Iron and Steel, organised by the Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr Jindal said that the cost of the proposed steel plant in West Bengal would be funded through a mix of debt and equity at a ratio of 1:1.
The plant will be built in two phases of a 2.5-MPTA capacity each. After the first phase, the plant will produce only semi-finished products. On completion of the second phase, it will produce both long and flat products. If the Jindals' plan materialises, it would be their first major investment in West Bengal. It would also be the first major greenfield steel project in West Bengal after SAIL's Durgapur Steel Plant.
However, the fate of the proposed steel project depends totally on raw material linkages. The Orissa Government has already announced that it would offer mining leases only to those companies who are setting up steel plants in Orissa itself.
Mr Jindal said that he had detailed discussion with the West Bengal Government on the matter. "The West Bengal Government has decided to take up this matter at the national level. We are looking at all sorts of options for raw material linkage", Mr Jindal said.
Mr Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, West Bengal Chief Minister, also raised the issue at the inaugural session of the seminar. According to him, there should be free movement of natural resources among all States for overall national growth. According to Mr Jindal, the group would take 36-48 months from the zero date to commission the plant and it would directly employ 10,000 people.
Meanwhile, the Jindals are setting up a 1 million tonnes per annum stainless steel plant and a 2 million tones per annum steel plant in Orissa. The technology for the proposed plant in West Bengal will be based on the blast furnace route. "It is likely to be in line with our Jindal Vijayanagar plant", he added.
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