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Infra for $40-bn steel projects put on fast track

PTI     November 25, 2014

Creation of basic infrastructure for four mega steel plants, estimated to cost $40 billion, has been put on fast track with SAIL and RINL being assigned the job along with the existing nodal agency NMDC.

State-run iron ore miner NMDC was earlier given the task of putting in place basic infrastructure, including land acquisition for the plants, each with 10-12 million tonne capacity, in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Karnataka and Odisha.

"Now, with the slow progress in readying the necessary and basic infrastructure including land acquisition, the government has decided to assign the job to SAIL and RINL as well," said a source in the Steel Ministry.

"It has now asked SAIL to develop the special purpose vehicle (SPV) in Chattisgarh, and RINL the Odisha SPV. NMDC would do in Karnataka and Jharkhand," he said.

As per the proposed plan, SAIL, RINL and NMDC would tie up with state industrial development corporations for forming SPVs that would create the infrastructure for such ultra mega steel plants. It generally requires $1 billion investment for creating 1 million tonne steel capacity.

The idea for developing basic infrastructure through SPVs was first mooted by the previous government against the backdrop of two global players, Posco and ArcelorMittal, pulling out of their mega steel projects.

The plan was that after developing the infrastructure, NMDC will sell it off to steel firms who intend to set up shop in India, but have been deterred by bottlenecks.

It aimed at clearing the bottlenecks for private projects as a step towards achieving 300 MT capacity by 2025, a target set by the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh-led National Manufacturing Competitiveness Council (NMCC).

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