Kolkata, Oct 4(UNI) In a major investment drive, Jai Balaji Industries Limited today signed an agreement with the West Bengal Government for setting up of an integrated steel plant, a cement factory and a captive power plant at a total cost of Rs. 16,000 crore.
The steel plant, with a production capacity of five-million tons per annum, would come up along with the 1,215 MW power plant and the three-million ton cement factory at Raghunathpur in Purulia district.
Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, who was present at the signing ceremony, said the projects would provide direct and indirect employment to about 55,000 people of the backward district and the entrepreneurs would set up a training academy to impart the necessary industrial skills to the local youth.
The first phase of the steel porject, envisaging a production of two-million tons is expected to go on stream by 2010.
Criticising the UPA Government's perception of development, Mr.Bhattacharjee said despite a soaring GDP growth rate the country was witnessing a 'jobless growth' with employment opportunities plummeting to only four per cent.
"We have differences with the UPA Government on this issue. We have to create job opportunities for the youth and for that the state government has emphasised on small and medium manufacturing industries and the knowledge-based and food processing sectors in West Bengal," he said.
Lamenting that the absence of a national iron ore policy was posing great problem to the states going for steel manufacturing industry, the Chief Minister demanded that the Centre formulate a policy ensuring easy supply of iron ore everywhere in the country.
Speaking on the occasion, Industries Minister Nirupam Sen said efforts were being made by the state government to extend the Bardhaman-Asansol industrial zone to the backward districts of Purulia and Bankura across the Damodar river.
The government had already received proposals for setting up of several steel plants and a wagon factory in Purulia which, if implemented, would change the economic face of the district, he said.