Chief minister Naveen Patnaik is on a roll. With the sultan of steel LN Mittal proposing to pump Rs 40,000-crore into the state, the total quantum of investment in the steel and allied sectors in Orissa has shot up to a whopping Rs 1,78,000 crore in the last couple of years. A total of 43 MoUs have already been signed while the one with Arcelor-Mittal is now on the anvil.
Of the total Rs 1,78,000 crore pledged for the state, Pohang Steel Company (Posco) leads the tally with an investment of Rs 51,000 crore. Tata Steel, too, has inked an MoU for a 6-metric tonne steel plant with an investment of Rs 15,000 crore followed by Essar Steel, Visa, Jindal Strips, Jindal Steel and Power, Bhushan Steel and so on.
If the Posco and Arcelor-Mittal plants do become reality, Naveen will have earned a special place for himself in Orissa history.
Race for steel pie
Even as Mittal's aircraft took off from the Bhubaneswar airport, leaders of the ruling BJD-BJP combine tried to come up with reasons why the proposed plant should come up in their constituencies. Mittal wants a shore-based location and Gopalpur-on-sea in Ganjam district appears to be the most suitable.
The area near Paradip port where the Posco plant is coming up is ruled out for Arcelor-Mittal. Kalinga Nagar in Jajpur district, too, may be out of bounds because of a face-off between the government and displaced tribals. Balasore already has the sensitive Integrated Missile Test Range at Chandipur. According to sources, the entire coastline will be surveyed to find vacant patches of land with very thin habitation. Finding the ideal spot could be tougher than finding investments.