MAC: Mines and Communities

Tata initial work by year-end - Steel plant at Tontoposhi

Published by MAC on 2006-02-18

Tata initial work by year-end - Steel plant at Tontoposhi

by The Telegraph (Calcutta), Jamshedpur

18th February 2006

Tata Steel will begin construction of its proposed 12-million-tonne steel plant at Tontoposhi by the end of this year.

"We are optimistic of starting the initial work for the construction of the plant at Tontoposhi by December. But prior to it, we will ensure that all the stakeholders are fully satisfied," said B. Muthuraman, managing director of Tata Steel.

The company had signed a memorandum of understanding with the state government for this greenfield project.

Muthuraman said the company is also hopeful of starting the process of land acquisition for its 5-million-tonne plant at Chhattisgarh.

"In fact, we had proposed to the Jharkhand government that we would like the rehabilitation package, which we propose for those displaced from Tontoposhi, to be a model for the state so as to make the process of industrialisation more conducive in the state. We will ensure that all those displaced get some alternative means of livelihood. In cases, where they are not skilled, we will train them up and absorb them," he said.

He also expressed confidence that its 6-million-tonne steel plant at Kalinga Nagar in Orissa would also be executed soon. Questions were raised on the future of the project after an uprising by villagers there and a subsequent police firing, which left 12 tribals dead. "The plot of land in fact was acquired by the Orissa government after compensating the people there quite sometime ago. We have assured of training these people up and later absorbing them suitably," he said.

Looking back at 2005, Muthuraman said that it was an exceptional year for the steel major not only in terms of acquisitions but also that all its plants have been working to more than their full capacity. "From March to December, steel prices have fallen by nearly Rs 6,000 but this is not going to affect our profits in any way this year. In fact, our profits in the past nine months have been more than what we earned during the similar period in the last financial year.," he said.

On its projects abroad, Muthuraman exuded confidence of all of them progressing ahead smoothly and added that the company would soon be acquiring another coal block in Australia soon. "This will help us in not only keeping our costs minimum but in ensuring supply. In fact, we have been able to reduce the ash content in coal procured from West Bokaro to just about 13 per cent this January," he said.

On the company's centenary year in 2007, Muthuraman said besides a film and a book that are being made for the occasion, the company plans to hand over a gift to the entire state. He, however, refrained himself from spelling it out as to what it would be.

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