'PMO to intervene to ensure iron-ore blocks to Mittal'
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh could intervene, if need be, to provide iron ore blocks to Lakshmi Mittal, the CEO of ArcelorMittal for his proposed 12 million tonne plants each in India, Steel Minister Ram Vilas has said.
"Mittal's problems will be sorted out and his demand for iron ore block will be met, if need be, by the intervention of the Prime Minister," Paswan told reporters here last night.
The world's biggest steelmaker has signed MoUs with Jharkhand and Orissa governments to set up greenfield steel plants wherein it will invest a total of Rs 80,000 crore.
Claiming that ensuring iron ore blocks was not a major issue, Paswan accompanied by Acting High Commissioner to UK Ashok Mukerji said, "We will sit and sort it out and if necessary, the prime minister will intervene in the matter."
While the Orissa plant seemed to be going ahead on schedule, the Jharkhand plant is delayed, as allocation of the Chiria iron ore block is sub-judice.
ArcellorMittal requires 600 million tones iron-ore every year for each plant. The steelmaker is interested ensure ore from the world-famous Chiria mines, but state-run steel giant SAIL has refused to partake any ore from it in view of its mega expansion plans in Jharkhand.
Paswan said the country has total of 25 billion tonnes of iron ore and 80 per cent of them were in Jharkhand, Orissa and Chhattisgarh. He conceded that there was slight delay on the part of Jharkhand government in taking a decision on the allocation of iron ore blocks.
Arcellor-Mittal has already been allotted two coal blocks, one each in Jharkhand and Orissa, where ArcelorMittal has proposed to set up two separate steel plants.