Another land deal has gone awry for the Tatas. The company's land deal for setting up a titanium dioxide plant in the southern part of Tamil Nadu has now got mired in controversy.
The locals in Tuticorin and Tirunelveli districts claim that they would be displaced if Tata Steel buys 12,000 acres of land for the project.
Tata Steel had signed an MoU with the Tamil Nadu government last June under which a plant to extract titanium dioxide from ilmenite, found on the red sand beach of these two districts, would be established. Under the Rs 2,500 crore project, one lakh tonnes of titanium dioxide would be extracted from five lakh tonnes of ilmenite, which would reduce India's annual import of 70,000 tonnes.
Though 8,000 acres for the project is uncultivated land, the remaining 4,000 acres are inhabited. "Over 1,000 families would be hit. The jobs being offered by Tata will not exceed 500 and will be at the lowest level," fumed V Vinayarasu, a local activist.
Meanwhile, Tata Steel assured that 1,000 people would get direct and another 3,000 indirect employment. "We will not disturb dwellings, residents can continue to live," the company's press release said.