Briefing newspersons after a Cabinet meeting, Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister Shobha Karandlaje said Tata Group Chairman Ratan Tata had been invited to set up the project in Karnataka. ''They already have two units with 900 acre of land in Dharwad. We are ready to provide more land in Dharwad if the Tata Group decides to shift the project from Singur following the stiff opposition to the project,'' she said. Karnataka is the fifth State to invite the Tata Group for setting up of the Nano project after it threatened to pull out from West Bengal due to the protracted imbroglio over the project. The Cabinet also gave its approval for an MoU with Chhattisgarh for setting up a pit-head thermal power project at a cost of Rs 5,000 crore, she added.
The MoU would be signed within two months for setting up the 1000 MW project at Shiroyinarayan near Raipur.
The Chhattisgarh Government had agreed to provide 1,200 acre of land for which water would be drawn from Mahanadi. The area also had good rail and road links and free from Naxal menace, she said.
Thirty per cent of the power generated would be provided to Chhattisgarh.
Ms Karandlaje said the cabinet also gave approval for taking up of the Upper Bhadravati project at a cost of Rs 5985 crore to providing water for irrigation and drinking purposes to districts of Chitradurga, Tumkur and Kolar. The project would come up in five stages to be completed in 2013 and provide irrigation facility to 1.7 lakh hectares of land besides for drinking in these districts, she said.
The minister said that the cabinet also decided to implement its budget provision for implementing the free power supply to farmers who own irrigation pumpsets up to ten hp form this month.
The department would provide energy meter at its own cost and it will be compulsory for farmers to have meters to get the free power, she said.
Ms Karandlaje said that arrears of Rs 2682 crore would also be collected from the farmers in eight instalments in the next two years. Interest on the arrears would be waived off if farmers make a prompt payment of arrears, she said.
She claimed that there would no more load shedding from September.