Saturday, July 25, 2009

Jharkhand - 3yr total: Rs 880cr

SUMAN K SHRIVASTAVA
Ranchi, July 23: Jharkhand, known for its rich mineral reserves, has fared dismally in attracting investments: Rs 880.31 crore in the last three years leading to 13 projects, most of which are into manufacturing sponge iron, a highly polluting industry.

“The state government signed 42 MoUs out of 94 proposals it received from various companies since 2006,” the Union minister of state for home, Ajay Maken, told the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, in reply to a question from the Independent MP from Jharkhand, Parimal Nathwani, who asked the Centre whether Naxalite activities were a major hurdle in attracting fresh industrial investment in the state.

In the last nine years, Jharkhand inked as many as 71 MoUs, of which 62 were with steel companies alone — including ArcelorMittal, Jindal Steel & Power (JSPL), Tata Steel, Jindal South West and Essar Steel for mega projects. And the total estimated investment proposals stood at a whopping Rs 3 lakh crore.

“The quantum of investment during the last nine years is almost the same as stated by the minister,” a source in the state industries department said.

Moreover, most of the 13 industrial units operating in the state were in the business of sponge iron, an industry not known for its commitment to adopting stringent anti-pollution measures.

On Naxalism, Maken agreed the state government had to deal with various aspects of the problem and the Centre had supplemented its resources and efforts by deploying paramilitary forces and Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (COBRA), while sanctioning India Reserve (IR) battalions, modernisation and upgradation projects of the state police and their intelligence apparatus.

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