After getting the Tatas to move their Nano project from West Bengal to Gujarat, the western state’s Chief Minister Narendra Modi seems interested in getting UK-based Vedanta Resources Ltd to shift its aluminum refinery from Orissa to his state.
A senior Gujarat government official said Vedanta could be persuaded to take up the aluminum project the state government had earlier planned to set up with Mumbai-based Ashapura Minechem Ltd.
The Modi government has recently asked the state-owned Gujarat Mineral Development Corporation (GMDC) to scrap its deal with the Ashapura group for setting up an aluminium refinery plant.
The official said a fresh expression of interest (EoI) would be invited for the plant, which will require an investment of around R10,000 crore.
“We have asked GMDC to scrap the project with the Ashapura group because no progress was made and now a fresh EoI will be invited to award the project in joint venture with GMDC,” Principal Secretary (Industries and Mines) M. Sahu told Hindustan Times on Friday.
Does this pave the way for a fresh agreement with Vedanta?
Pawan Kaushik, the head of the company’s corporate communications wing denied any such move. “We have no plans to shift our refinery from Orissa.
If we are not allowed to undertake mining operations in Orissa, we will procure raw materials from outside,” he told HT on Friday. But sources in the company did not rule out setting up a refinery in Gujarat.
Vedanta’s Orissa plans are currently in deep trouble. Its bauxite-mining lease has been cancelled. And now the environment ministry has alleged that the expansion of the company’s aluminum plant took place without its clearance.
“The violation (of environment norms) is clear and unambiguous,” Environment and Forests Minister Jairam Ramesh said on Friday.
With inputs from HTC, Delhi