India progress disappointing: L N Mittal

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New Delhi, Nov 15: Betting big on India, world's largest steel maker Arcelor-Mittal has expressed dismay over the government's slow progress in giving clearances for setting up plants in the country.

The company had announced that it will set up its 12 MT integrated greenfield project at Torpa in Khunti district in Jharkhand by February 2008.

''We are disappointed over the kind of progress going on here,'' Lakshmi Niwas Mittal, Chief Executive and major shareholder of the company told a news channel.

Arcelor Mittal is setting up its proposed 12 million tonne per annum steel plant in Orissa and is also interested in setting up a 12 MT steel plant in neighbouring Jharkhand.

If both the plants materialises, the company's combined capacity in the country would be 24 MT.

''We are targetting an agressive India-centric growth and are focusing on organic growth plans,'' Mr Mittal said.

The company aims to grow by 20 per cent till 2012 and will raise its steel capacity to 150 MT, he added.

An announcement to set up a plant in Jharkhand would come as a gift to the state government which celebrates its seventh statehood anniversary today, media reports said.

The company's CEO (India) Sanak Mishra along with Mr Sudhir Maheshwari, Vice President is already in Ranchi to make the announcement.

The company had assigned Mecon to undertake a study at Torpa and a final survey report had been submitted some time back.

Mr Mittal has asked for 600 MT of iron ore for each of its proposed plants in Jharkhand and Orissa over a 30-year period.

This is based on the fact that 1.6 MT of iron ore is required for producing 1 MT on steel.

While the Jharkhand government has recommended Chiria iron ore mines for the company, state-owned Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) has challenged the move in the Jharkhand High Court where the matter is sub-judice. However, the central government is making efforts to break this deadlock by an out-of-court settlement.

South Korean steel-major Posco which also plans to set up a 12 MT steel project in Orissa is facing local resistance.


UNI

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