Chhattisgarh on road to industrial development: Chief Minister Raman Singh (Interview)

September 23rd, 2008 - 11:46 am ICT by IANS  

Raipur, Sep 23 (IANS) Chhattisgarh is now on the fast track to industrial development with top companies rushing to the state with massive investment plans, says Chief Minister Raman Singh.”Chhattisgarh is now one of the top destinations for investors in the steel sector, and companies like Tata, Essar and NMDC (the state-owned National Mineral Development Corp) are setting up plants here,” Raman Singh told IANS in an exclusive interview.

“In the power sector, we have agreements with 51 firms totalling about Rs.1,900 billion in investments,” he added.

Raman Singh said the state had witnessed an industrial revolution ever since he was sworn in chief minister in December 2003. The Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled state is going to the polls in November to elect a new 90-member legislative assembly.

“Major players in the steel, power and cement sectors are in a hurry to set up new units and those who already have units are filing proposals to expand production by at least three-four times. This shows the state is on the fast track to industrial development,” he said.

“Chhattisgarh is the country’s only power cut-free state and is set to become India’s power hub within four years when those companies now setting up coal-fired plants will begin 42,297 MW power generation by 2012,” he added.

The chief minister said that apart from the private sector, the government itself is setting up a series of power plants across the coal-rich northern region - at Korba West (500 MW), Korba South (1,000 MW), Bhaiyathan (1,320 MW), Premnagar (1,320 MW) and Marwa (1,320 MW).

The state had an average daily power demand of just 900 MW and 1,200 MW during peak hours in November 2000 when it was carved out of Madhya Pradesh.

But the current average power requirement has shot up to about 1,850 MW, which rises to 2,500 MW during peak hours.

The state produces 1,923.85 MW of electricity.

Raman Singh said 18,994 villages, or 96.2 percent of the 19,744 villages in Chhattisgarh, have electricity and that total power connection will be achieved by the end of 2009.

Additionally, he said, three major steel plants are coming up in the state’s impoverished tribal but Maoist insurgency-hit southern Bastar region.

“Tata Steel is setting up a five- million-tonne steel unit on a Rs.100 billion investment while Essar is investing Rs.70 billion for a 3.2-million-tonne plant,” he said. Both deals were signed in June 2005.

“The state government has signed a deal with NMDC early this month for another three- million-tonne steel unit in Bastar.

“My government’s thrust is to work for the poor, improve the quality of their life and protect farmers’ interests. Chhattisgarh provides farm loan at just three percent interest and we also provide rice to 3.4 million poor families at just Rs.3 a kg.”

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