West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today made out a case for a national iron ore policy on the lines of one for coal.
“If the country can have a national coal policy, then why should not there be a national iron ore policy in place?” she asked while inaugurating the commencement ceremony for Sajjan Jindal-controlled JSW Group’s proposed Rs 800-crore cement plant here.
The group had earlier planned to set up an integrated steel plant at the same site, but the project ran into problems due to iron ore linkage issues.
Welcoming the JSW Group’s investment in the cement plant, Banerjee said the proposed steel plant could not come up at the site as linkages to source iron ore could not materialise.
“Had there been such a policy, the steel plant could have seen the light of day,” she stressed.
JSW Group had signed an MoU with WBIDC in 2007 for setting up a 10-mt steel plant with an investment of Rs 35,000 crore, for which it had acquired nearly 4,500 acres at Salboni in West Midnapore district, an area rife with Left extremism.
The proposed cement grinding unit will have a capacity of 2.4 mt per annum and the commercial production is expected to start in 12 months.
The group’s current cement capacity of 6 million tonne will be expanded to 16 mt, Economic Analyst of JSW Steel Parth Jindal said.
JSW Group Chairman Sajjan Jindal said the plant will be set up on 134 acres, which is “a small beginning, but a lot more could follow like downstream steel and paints, beside cement”.
Back in 2008, former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya had a close shave when his convoy was ambushed by Maoists when he was on a return trip after laying the foundation stone of the proposed steel plant.