ArcelorMittal takes up Jharkhand mines issue with Centre
New Delhi: Not able to make progress in its proposed Rs 50,000 crore steel project in Jharkhand, world's largest steelmaker ArcelorMittal has sought Centre's help in expediting grant of mining lease in the state.
Raising the issue of inordinate delays in getting mining lease for Karampada mines in Singhbhum district in Jharkhand, ArcelorMittal has told the Steel Ministry that "...All requirements have been completed but Stage Forest clearance is pending for the last 24 months".
ArcelorMittal had entered into a pact with Jharkhand government way back in 2005 for setting up a 12 MTPA steel plant at an estimated cost USD 12 billion (Rs 50,000 crore).
The Centre had given its nod to the state government's proposal for granting prospecting licence to ArcelorMittal over 662.95 hectares of land in Karampada region in 2010. The mine is estimated to have 200 MT of iron ore reserves.
According to a Steel Ministry official, after the global giant raised the issue of delays, Secretary Steel, D R S Chaudhary has urged upon the state government to have "a single window system for handling such applications".
The Jharkhand government in turn has said it is awaiting a decision in a case of similar nature, the official said.
The steelmaker has also been facing delays in land acquisition and regulatory hurdles to launch the venture.
Faced with opposition from villagers from the Khunti, Gumla areas, where the plant was proposed initially, it is making efforts to acquire land at Petarwar in Bokaro district in the state.
ArcelorMittal also plans a USD 12 billion steel mill in Odisha which too is hanging fire for long.
Meanwhile, as per an official document, the company, last month raised the issue of extremist problems in states like Jharkhand and Odisha at a review meeting of the steel Ministry last month.
"It was mentioned by the representative of ArcelorMittal that the States of Jharkhand, Odisha and Chhattisgarh are worst naxal affected States. Coincidentally, most of the iron ore resources are also located in these States," an official document said.
The document added: "Due to the naxal problem, the progress of steel projects and other associated industries in these States is very slow. Therefore, the Central Government is required to develop a suitable Steel Policy taking into account the socio-economic structure of these States."