MAC: Mines and Communities

Kendrapara trying to woo Arcelor-Mittal

Published by MAC on 2006-07-18

Kendrapara trying to woo Arcelor-Mittal

Statesman News Service, KENDRAPARA

18th July 2006

In sharp contrast to the usual protests against land acquisition, such as the latest one with regard to the proposed Posco steel plant, districts have started vying for industrial projects.

Kendrapara has joined the race, in trying to attract the Arcelor-Mittal group. Prior to this, Ganjam district had demanded the project to be set up on 3,500 acres of land acquired by Tata Steel, which is lying vacant.

Now, an orchestrated campaign of bringing Kendrapara into the state industrial map, is slowly gaining ground. There is a flurry of activities, at administrative and political levels, in this coastal district. With the site for the steel major's industrial venture still undecided, such activities are sending a message that, this region is enriched with viable and litigation-free government land to accommodate mega industrial projects.

Kendrapara district bar association has sent a memorandum to the chief minister and chairman, Arcelor-Mittal group, in this regard.

Bar association president, Mr Debdas Mohanty claimed that, the coastal patch of land of Mahakalpada block bordering Paradip, is the most congenial place for industrial activity.

The late Biju Patnaik had represented and nurtured the Kendrapara parliamentary constituency. But the charismatic leader had failed to keep up to his promise of bringing industrial infrastructure to Kendrapara. Now, the time has come for his son, Mr Navin Patnaik to fulfill his father's promise, the memorandum to the CM said.

"We do have more than 5,000 acres of encroachment-free government land in close proximity of the Paradip industrial zone. The said land, parts of which fall under classified forest land category, is certainly viable for industries. The Mahakalpada tehsil has already been asked to demarcate and make it ready for possible industrial activity," district collector, Mr Jyoti Prakash Das said.

"We have sent the proposal with a specification of the available land, to the state government, and requested them to invite industrial houses for future venture," he said. The public opinion of inviting the Mittal Group to Kendrapara, has also been ventilated to the state government, he said.

Meanwhile, sitting MLAs of the ruling BJD have reportedly taken up the matter with the CM, so that the district, bereft of industrial infrastructure, can have a mega industry. Sandwiched between the mineral-rich hinterland of Keonjhar and Jajpur districts, this coastal district has been a classic example of neglect, with little peripheral development, according to ruling party MLAs.

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