Mittal mulls pull out of Jharkhand, Orissa; Govt offers help | business | Hindustan Times
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Mittal mulls pull out of Jharkhand, Orissa; Govt offers help

business Updated: Oct 05, 2009 17:15 IST

AFP
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After world's largest steel maker ArcelorMittal threatened to scrap a 20-billion dollar project to build two major steel plants in eastern India because land acquisition problems, government promised to lend him a helping hand.

Talking to a private news channel, Corporate Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said that the government is willing to help Mittal if he approaches.

He also said that land acquisition is a state government issue.

Chairman Lakshmi Mittal was quoted in Monday's Financial Times as saying that delays in purchasing the land from farmers and others in the states of Orissa and Jharkand were "unacceptable".

"If we cannot make progress in these two sites, we will have to abandon the idea of starting the projects there and look for other places in India for our expansion," Mittal told the newspaper.

The saga has echoes of the problems encountered last year by India's largest vehicle maker Tata Motors which was forced to shift the plant for its new, cheap Nano car from West Bengal to Gujarat amid farmers' protests over land acquisitions.

India's industrial expansion faces a problem in purchasing agricultural land for development, with farmers often unwilling to sell and regional politics fuelling local anger at perceived commercial exploitation.

Mittal told the Financial Times that people in India needed to be "educated" to understand the collective benefits of industrial development.