Ballari: A year after world’s biggest steel giant, ArcelorMittal decided to back out from its much-hyped investment of $6.5 billion in a steel plant at Ballari, Tata Steel is reportedly eying on 2,800 acres of land, earlier allocated to ArcelorMittal.
Highly placed sources in the state government told that Tata Steel is keen to shift its integrated steel plant project to Ballari from Haveri where land was identified for it.
“Tata Steel is learnt to have expressed interest in setting the plant in ore-rich Ballari if the land was provided. However, Tata Steel is yet to begin formal talk with the state government seeking land for its proposed steel plant at Kudathini near Ballari”, said a top source.
ArcelorMittal, in February 2016 sought permission to change the use of 2,800 acres of land at Ballari to set up a 600 MW solar power plant, since the 2,800 acres has already been allotted to Arcelor for a mega steel plant.
Tata Steel, expressing interest over land in Ballari comes at the time when sources said that the state government faces a serious dilemma: whether to take back 7,500 acres allotted to ArcelorMittal and Miglani family-owned Uttam Galva Steel in Ballari district to set up steel plants or allow them to use the land for alternative purposes. “If we take back the land, it may send a wrong signal to investors. If we don’t, the land may be used for setting up solar plants, which will not generate employment as a steel or any other heavy industry will,” said a senior officer at industries department.
Tata Steel signed a memorandum of understanding with the state government to develop the six million metric tonnes per annum on 1,012ha of land.
In 2010, Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board (KIADB) issued a notification to acquire 647ha of land from Agadi and Boodagatti villages in Haveri district for the steel plant.
The project is facing delay as the developer not invested any funds in acquiring the land earmarked and the district administration has written to the state government to withdraw the notification for land acquisition and allow the farmers to cultivate it, particularly as it is still fertile.
“Land for Tata Steel is identified at Haveri, but the acquisition is not done so far due to local issues. Hence, the state government is likely to consider shifting the Tata Steel project to already acquired land in Ballari which was earlier allocated to Arcelor Mittal”, said a source.
A senior official said the industries department was not in favour of giving the land for setting up a solar plant because it does not generate enough employment. “We want some heavy industry to come up on the land since Ballari is a potential centre for heavy industries and it will help the state in terms of investment and employment as well,” an officer said....