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PMO to keep tabs on Tata projects

It will support steel projects, report M Madhusudan and Rajesh Roy.

india Updated: Jan 25, 2007 01:49 IST

Despite the controversy at Singur over the acquisition of land for Tata's low cost car project, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) has decided to monitor and support all Tata Steel's projects in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Orissa. The Tatas have a proposed investment of about Rs 80,000 crore in these three states over the next decade to produce 28 million tonnes of steel over the next decade.

The PMO has not only directed the three state governments concerned to ensure "regular monitoring" of the Tata projects in their respective regions, but also to report on its status from time to time to the Centre.

This means that the 'Partnership Pact for Prosperity', signed by the Jharkhand Government and Tata Steel - envisaging an investment of Rs 53,000 crore for 17 million tonnes of steel - will now be monitored by the PMO.

"The PMO convened the meeting after receiving a letter from the Tata Steel requesting its intervention. The three States have been directed to monitor the Tata Steel's projects and keep reporting to the PMO. The three states were asked to review other investment proposals as well and address the pending issues of investors," Jharkhand Industries Secretary KK Khandelwal told the Hindustan Times.

Tata Steel had expressed its concerns over the delay in environmental clearance, land acquisition and allocation of minerals.

Sources in the PMO confirmed that TKA Nair, principal secretary to prime minister, had convened a meeting recently in view of a letter from the Tatas.

On our part, we apprised the PMO that the survey of around 15,000 acres required by Tata Steel for its Greenfield project in Jharkhand has been completed, and talks were simultaneously on with rayyaits for value fixation of the land. Public hearing for the company's expansion plan in the state has also been completed," Khandelwal pointed out.

Chief Secretary MK Mandal said that initially he was supposed to attend the meeting but could not do so because of some other engagements.

"The Tata Steel, which has plans for producing around 28 MT steel in the three states, had sought the PMO's assistance in ensuring its projects were on the right track," Mandal said, adding the next meeting with the PMO is scheduled after a month.

The Government of Jharkhand and Tata Steel Limited have signed four separate Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs), related to setting up a 12 MT Greenfield integrated steel plant with an investment of Rs 42,000 crore, 5MT capacity enhancement in its Jamshedpur-based plant with an investment of Rs 11,000 crore besides co-operation in the area of Human Resource Development through polytechnics and Industrial Training Institutes (ITI).

Meanwhile Maruti Udyog Ltd Managing Director Jagdish Khattar on Wednesday challenged Tata Motors chairman Ratan Tata to publicly reveal the name of  the rival who was sabotaging his plans to set up a car manufacturing unit at Singur. Tata had made this allegation a few days ago.

"I don’t know what competitor he is talking about. Since he knows, he should disclose the names," said Khattar.