BHUBANESWAR, JANUARY 6, 2022
Even as steel behemoth Jindal Steel & Power Limited (JSPL) is bracing for capacity expansion of its integrated steel plant at Angul from 6 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) to 25.2 MTPA by 2030 to make it the largest Plant in the World in a single location, the Company’s Chairman Naveen Jindal has raised serious concern over vested interests not allowing operation of Kasia Iron Ore Mines by blocking the entry point to the mines.
In this connection, the JSPL chief called on Odisha Chief Secretary Suresh Chandra Mahapatra at Loka Seva Bhavan on Wednesday, and apprised him of this development which is a big de-motivating factor for the investors.
Jindal requested the Chief Secretary to intervene in the matter and resolve the issue at the earliest for full-scale operation of the Kasia Mines. He urged Mahapatra to break the impasse for the smooth operation of the Mines.
To recall, JSPL was granted the lease of Kasia Iron and Dolomite Block on becoming the preferred bidder for the block at a premium of 118.10 per cent in the mineral auction conducted by the Government. After depositing the required upfront payment, performance security, and stamp duty amounting to about Rs 1,500 crore, the Company signed the lease deed in November 2021.
However, a few vested interests, provoked by some transporters, have blocked the entry point to the mines, not allowing entry to the mines; and preventing the start of operations. They have also resorted to violence and hurt at least a couple of personnel besides violating all COVID-related protocols. Besides the loss of livelihood to local people, the illegal blockade is also causing revenue loss to the tune of over Rs 15 crore per day to the State Government. The state exchequer has so far lost over Rs 500 crore due to this illegitimate blockade.
JSPL Managing Director VR Sharma, Group Advisor (Legal, Corporate Affairs & Sustainability) Manish Kharbanda, JPL Chairman AK Jha, and other senior officials of JSPL accompanied Jindal to the meeting with the Chief Secretary.
It may be mentioned that JSPL has set up a 6 MTPA integrated steel plant at Angul. Last year, Odisha’s State High-Level Clearance Authority, headed by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, approved the proposal to expand the plant capacity to 25.2 MTPA by 2030 which will be the largest Plant in the World in a single location as per present capacities. The expansion is expected to increase JSPL’s investment in Odisha to more than Rs 1 lakh crore from Rs 45,000 crore at present. This would also generate enormous economic activities and employment opportunities in the State.