By Nageshwar Patnaik in Bhubaneswar, October 23, 2018: Union Steel Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh on Tuesday crticised the Odisha government for it’s failure to provide land to leading global steel companies, like ArceloMittal and Posco.

Replying to a question at the media interaction on the state government’s failure to ground mega steel projects in the past, Singh said, Odisha must exploit its potential to emerge as the mega steel hub in the country by facilitating land required by the steel companies.

Singh blamed delay in land acquisition by the state government behind exit of South Korean steel company Posco from Odisha.

“Land acquisition was one major issue (behind pulling out of ArcelorMittal and Posco). Though land is a concurrent subject, ultimately land acquisition rests with the state governments. There are several other reasons which you know better,” Singh, told reporters media persons.

Having failed to get land and raw material linkage for 12 years, the South Korean steel major Posco shelved its Rs 52,000 crore project in Odisha. It requested the state government to take back the land acquired for its steel project in Jagatsinghpur district. In April last year, the state government had cancelled nearly 1880 acres of land allotted to Posco and brought it back to its land bank.

Referring to the request of the Union Minister for Heavy Industries and Public Sector Enterprises Anant Gangaram Geete to the Odisha government’s support for setting up a machine tools park in the state in line with the one in Karnataka, Singh urged the state to provide land so that second such park can up in the country.

The centre has requested the state to allocate about 500 acres of land to set up the park.

Singh said, India has set a target to increase its crude steel capacity to 300 million tonnes by 2030-31 from about 134 million tonnes presently. For adding the new capacity, Indian steel industry is expected to invest $ 128 billion in next 10 to 12 years.

Of this around 30% will be produced in Odisha. “With rich mineral resources and skilled human resources Odisha has the potential to produce 100 MT steel alone and can be the steel hub of India,” Singh said.

The minister pointed out that the trends in the last four years show that Indian steel consumption has been growing by seven per cent and steel production was up by 6.7 per cent, which is the highest growth in the world.

Singh said that Global Forum for Steel Excess Capacity of which India had been a Co-chair country has acknowledged that India has a lot of potential for increase in steel demand and production due to the current level of low per capita consumption.

Indian per capita consumption has gone up to 68 kg from 58 kg in last four years.

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