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Karnataka to give farmers say in fixing land price for steel project
No formula yet for arriving at price for land for ArecelorMittal project
Bangalore, Jan. 8
The Karnataka Government will take the "consent value" based on consensus between farmers and the Government for arriving at the price for acquiring land for ArcelorMittal's Rs 30,000-crore steel project in the State.
A top Karnataka official told Business Line that the consent value will be decided by a committee headed by the Deputy Commissioner of the district where the project will be based.
No short-changing farmers
The Committee will consist of farmers' representatives and other Government officials.
"We will not short-change the farmers and care will be taken not to hurt their interests," Mr V. P. Baligar, State's Principal Secretary for Commerce and Industries, said.
The world's largest steel-maker has sought 4,000 acres for setting up a steel project in the State.
The Government is willing to extend to ArcelorMittal more tax concessions than those stated in the State's industrial policy. But sources said the steel-maker has not approached the State Government for more concessions.
Mr Baligar said there is enough dry land in Bellary and Bijapur, the districts shortlisted for setting up the project. He said the Government does not have a fixed formula for arriving at the price for buying land from farmers.
"We will go by consensus on this issue," he said.
ArecelorMittal is expected to decide on the site by the end of this month, Mr Baligar said.
The delay in land acquisition has been a major hurdle for the world's largest steel maker for setting up its $20-billion steel projects in Orissa and Jharkhand.
Once ArcelorMittal selects the site for setting up the 6-million-tonne steel project, the Government will fast-track the approval process, Mr Baligar said.
All the approvals will be given within 90 days as promised by the Chief Minister, Mr B.S. Yeddyurappa, to ArcelorMittal's Chairman, Mr Lakshmi Mittal. The land acquisition might take some more time. The MoU for the project will be signed during the Global Investors' Meet in June in Bangalore.
Sources in the Government said ArcelorMittal's officials have carried out technical evaluation at Kudithini village, 25 km from Bellary, and at Mulwad village in Bijapur - the two possible sites for the project.
While Bellary is rich in iron ore, Bijapur has enough water resources as the Almatti Dam is located there. Kudithini is also close to the 500-MW Bellary power project.
The State Government is also grappling with some of the land acquisition issues concerning an airport and a power project.
Sources in the Government said the land acquisition for setting up a greenfield airport on 900 acres in Bellary has run into hurdles because some farmers are not willing to part with their fertile land and have apparently filed a case in the district court against the acquisition. They have asked the Government to drop the project itself or set up the airport on dry land.
In Bijapur, some farmers have accused the Government of not honouring its commitment of giving double the market rate for their land for a power project.
(With inputs from M. Ahiraj in Bellary and Pradeep Kumar Kadkol in Bijapur.)
Karnataka offers ArcelorMittal 2 sites for Rs 30,000-cr steel plant
Karnataka Govt clears Rs 1.38-lakh cr investments
Karnataka identifies 3 plant sites for ArcelorMittal
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