Maoist-infested Bastar region set to receive Rs.335 bn investment

September 28th, 2008 - 4:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Raipur, Sep 28 (IANS) Chhattisgarh’s Bastar region, known to be one of the Maoist strongholds in India, is set to receive at least Rs.335 billion ($7.28 billion) investment over the next five years, state officials said Sunday.”Contrary to the popular belief that companies shy from pumping money into the insurgency-hit areas, the state’s Bastar region is getting an assured investment of at least Rs.335 billion in steel and iron ore mining sectors over the next five years,” a senior official at the state Industry department, who did not wish to be named, told IANS.

He added that Rs.290 billion would be invested in the steel sector while the rest of Rs.45 billion would go to the iron-ore mining sector.

Around 1,100 people, including 726 civilians, have been killed in the region since 2004 in Maoist violence and nearly 50,000 people are now living in 22 relief camps. The situation in the state turned worse since the government-backed civil militia movement Salwa Judum started counter attacks in June 2005.

India’s largest iron ore producer and exporter in public sector National Mineral Development Corp Ltd (NMDC) will invest Rs.120 billion to set up an integrated steel unit in Bastar district.

The company has signed an agreement for this purpose with the state government early this month.

Steel major Tata Steel will invest around Rs.100 billion for a five-million-tonne-per-annum steel plant in Bastar according to an agreement signed with the government in June 2005.

Officials claim nearly 80 percent of the total 5,098 acres required for Tata plant has been acquired at Lohandiguda block’s 10 villages.

Essar Steel, according to an agreement signed with the state government in 2005, will invest Rs.70 billion for a 3.2-million-tonne-per-annum unit in Dantewada district. Industry department officials said talks were on for acquiring land for the project in two villages - Dhurli and Bhansi.

The NMDC formed a Rs.45 billion joint venture with the state-owned Chhattisgarh Mining Development Corp (CMDC) in 2007 for iron ore excavation at Dantewada’s Bailadila deposits no-13, which has an estimated 350 million tonnes finest quality iron ore reserves.

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