Fate of Steel Authority’s first north Indian plant uncertain

November 9th, 2008 - 8:37 pm ICT by IANS  

Shimla, Nov 9 (IANS) The future of the state-owned steel company’s first steel plant in north India - in Himachal Pradesh - is clouded by uncertainty.The proposed plant, to be set up by Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL), involves an investment of Rs.1.06 billion. But, the Himachal Pradesh government says the Rs.456-billion steel behemoth can’t seem to be making up its mind where it wants the facility to come up.

“SAIL authorities first identified a plot (at Kandrori village in Kangra district, some 300 km from Shimla), but now it is saying Nahan (in Sirmaur district) would be the ideal location,” a senior official of state industry department told IANS.

“We (the government) have already completed the process to transfer the land in Kangra district to SAIL,” the official said.

Using thermo-mechanical treatment technology, the proposed plant is scheduled to produce 120,000 tonnes of steel rods, wire drawings and corrugated sheets annually.

According to Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, the state government would cooperate with the central government in establishing the steel plant, wherever it wanted. “Though Sirmaur district is facing acute power shortage, it is up to SAIL to decide where it wants to set up the plant,” he said in Nahan Saturday.

“We have no information regarding the SAIL’s decision to establish the plant now in Sirmaur district. If they (SAIL) want to set up two plants in the hill state, it’s a welcome step. We have cleared all decks for the transfer of land to SAIL in Kangra district,” industries director Manoj Kumar said.

Kumar said the government had cleared 18 investment proposals worth Rs.166.6 billion in February, which included SAIL’s plant and the expansion of the Gujarat Ambuja Cements unit at Darlaghat in Solan district.

Himachal has 38 industrial areas and 15 industrial estates.

The state’s industrial sector received a major boost in 2003 following the special industrial package announced by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led National Democratic Alliance government at the centre.

Lured by the industrial package, more than 900 medium and large-scale units have set up base in Himachal Pradesh since then.

Of these, 623 units have been set up in the Baddi, Barotiwala and Nalagarh areas of Solan district.

The present Bharatiya Janata Party government in the state is attempting to get the special package extended to 2013, as announced originally. The current industrial package will expire in 2010.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in Business |