The Aditya Birla Group confirmed an ambitious plan to invest as much as Rs. 75,000 crore in Orissa on Thursday as Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla met Naveen Patnaik. The investment pipeline will span aluminum, cement, telecommunications and retail sectors.
"We have several projects in Orissa and this was to apprise the chief minister that our projects are progressing well. Orissa is an important investment destination for us and we have plans to invest Rs 70,000-Rs 75,000 in the state," Birla told reporters. The figure was confirmed by the chief minister. A detailed break-up was not available.
Sources in the CM's office told Hindustan Times that the progress of the Aditya Aluminium's integrated aluminium complex, Utkal Alumina project, a cement project in Sundargarh district by Grasim Industries and new plans in telecom and retail sectors were discussed at the meeting.
Utkal Alumina was earlier a joint venture between group company Indal and Canada’s Alcan to set up an aluminum refinery plant in Rayagada district. But now Birla’s Hindalco Ltd. has bought out Alcan’s 45 per cent to become the full owner of the Rs. 4,000-crore project. However, the project has not made much progress despite the green signal from the Orissa High Court after questions were raised on environmental safety because of local protests over rehabilitation and livelihoods.
"We have complied with the rehabilitation and resettlement (R&R) package that was given to us and agreed upon," Birla said.
Besides Utkal Alumina, Aditya Aluminium (another unit of Hindalco) had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Orissa government on April 8, 2005 to set up an integrated aluminium complex in the state. The project involves a total investment of Rs 11,500 crores for production of 1.5 lakh tonnes of alumina and 3.25 lakh tonnes of aluminium per annum.
Aditya Aluminium has already signed a "joint venture umbrella agreement" with the Orissa Mining Corporation for bauxite mining in Koraput district.