World’s largest steel producer ArcelorMittal has made some headway in India by getting possession of about 1,827 acres for the proposed 6 million tonne plant in Karnataka.

The company said in its annual report for 2011 that it has completed all necessary steps to acquire the land in Karnataka and is expecting to get the remaining 972 acres by May for the Rs 30,000-crore ($6.5 billion) project.

“A draft feasibility report for the contemplated steel plant is currently being prepared, and hydrological and environmental impact assessment studies have been initiated,” it added.

Along side the steel mill in Karnataka, ArcelorMittal has also proposed to build a 750-MW captive power plant.

The company chief, Mr L.N. Mittal, had said earlier this month that ArcelorMittal is not counting on India in its business plans for the next few years largely due to regulatory issues.

“It is very difficult to say anything... When we will start the construction, when we will really make the progress.

We are not even counting them in our business plans for the next few years,” Mr L.N. Mittal had said while announcing the results for 2011 in a conference call.

The company’s plans to build two mega steel mills of 12 million tonne (mt) each in Jharkhand and Odisha are yet to see the light of the day.

The projects, including the steel plant in Karnataka, would entail an investment of $30 billion (Rs 1,30,000 crore).

For the Jharkhand project, where it now intends to set up a 3 million tonne per annum (MTPA) capacity plant in the first phase, the company has sought “adequate land” under the State Government Consent Award Scheme.

“Under this scheme, the State Government will facilitate the legal transfer of land for a project after an investor has secured the landowner’s consent to the sale of the land,” it said.

In 2010, the company had to shift its proposed plant site in Jharkhand from Khunti-Gumla to Bokaro due to problems in land acquisition.

The company has also initiated the process to renew its MoU with the Odisha government, which expired in December.

So far, the company has not been able to make any progress there and is facing problems in acquiring land.

(This article was published on February 26, 2012)
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