Mr Munda said the State would entertain only those prospective investors who ensure maximum benefit to the State and its people in the long term.

Ambar Singh Roy

Jamshedpur, May 12

THE Managing Director of Tata Steel, Mr B. Muthuraman, has urged the Jharkhand administration to be choosy and verify the track record of prospective investors before entertaining their investment enquiries.

He said that the State government must verify the ownership, track record and heritage of companies before inviting them to invest in the State. Any wrong decision in this regard would only be to the detriment of the State's long-term interest, he said.

He was speaking at a function held at the Tata Steel works here to mark the inauguration of the upgraded `G' Blast Furnace and augmentation of the steel plant's capacity to five million tonnes per annum. Mr Muthuraman enumerated in detail Tata Steel's contribution to Jamshedpur, Jharkhand and the nation.

According to him, Tata Steel had firmed up plans to augment the capacity of the steel plant here to seven million tonnes per annum by August 2008 and to 10 million tonnes per annum by 2011.

An investment of Rs 12,000 crore had been earmarked towards this end, he said. Of this corpus, Rs 2,500 crore had already been invested in the latest capacity augmentation programme.

Mr Arjun Munda, Chief Minister of Jharkhand, while acknowledging Tata Steel's contribution to the State and the nation, said the State would continue to welcome investment from all sources with a view to facilitating the uplift of 54 per cent of the State's population which was living below the poverty line.

He said that since Jharkhand had 37 per cent of the country's mineral reserves, it was but natural for mineral-based industries to be attracted to the State.

Mr Munda, however, sounded a cautious note when he said that, in its endeavour to facilitate investment, the State would entertain only those prospective investors who ensure maximum benefit to the State and its people in the long term.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Raghubar Das, Finance Minister of Jharkhand, said the Tatas should not worry about other players in the steel business coming to Jharkhand when they themselves were setting up steel plants in Orissa and elsewhere. Mr Das said the attractiveness of the State would welcome investors.

Besides, Tata Steel must not see itself as just another steel maker and compare itself with the Jindals, Ispat Group and Essar. the "Tatas are known for their contribution to society," he said, adding this was precisely the reason why the birth anniversary of Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata is celebrated with gusto every year.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated May 13, 2005)
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