Steel giant ArcelorMittal has chosen the Torpa-Kamdara blocks of Khunti and Gumla districts respectively as the site for its 12-million tonne (MT) integrated Greenfield steel project in Jharkhand.
Industry secretary K.K Khandelwal, who confirmed the development, said that ArcelorMittal's entry would usher in a new era of industrialisation in the state. In a three-page letter to state chief secretary PP Sharma, mines secretary Jaishankar Tiwari and industry secretary Khandelwal, London-based ArcelorMittal’s executive vice-president Sudhir Maheshwari said the company has zeroed in on Torpa due to availability of water for industrial purposes, its thin population density and the potential for infrastructure development.
The global steel producer has requested the Jharkhand government to provide the necessary support and permission for developing infrastructure in the area. It also wants the state to take up the matter of doubling the 100-km stretch of the Pokra-Pakla railway line on the Ranchi-Rourkela section — from where the company plans to transport about 50 million tonne of raw materials — with the railway ministry. The company has also urged the government to expedite the process of allocating iron ore mines.
ArcelorMittal has already applied for four mines, including Karampada and Ghatkuri in Jharkhand, and has keen interest in the litigated Chiriya Mines that have a reserve of over 2 billion tonne. The company’s total iron ore requirement is pegged at 600 million tonne for a span of 30 years once its plant reaches optimum production capacity.
The Centre has allocated 83.33 million tonne of steam coal out of the 150 million tonne available at Sereghara block in Jharkhand to ArcelorMittal on a sharing basis.
The steel major had inked a memorandum of understanding with Jharkhand Government on October 8, 2005 for setting up a 12-MT steel plant involving a cumulative investment of approximately Rs 40,000 crores.
Almost a year back, a team of ArcelorMittal comprising representatives of Hatch Associates, its international consultant for site selection in Jharkhand, had carried out an extensive survey of six locations of which Galudih, Torpa and Seraikela were short-listed. Galudih was eliminated from the company’s list of probable sites because of the forestland issue. As for the remaining two, Hatch Associates had rejected Torpa on the pretext that the company would have to rehabilitate more people (about 5,300) in comparison to Seraikela. The consultant had also cited improper railway services and dearth of industrial water in the area as reasons for the site rejection.