Videocon Group may start work on its much talked about mega steel and power project in Jamuria near Durgapur by the end of this year. V N Dhoot, the chairman of Videocon group had announced that it was reviving the integrated steel and power project at Jamuria, barely 20 Km from the industrial hub of Durgapur in Bengal.
Videocon had signed a MoU with the erstwhile Left Front government in 2008 for setting up a 3-million ton steel and a 1600-MW power plant with an investment of Rs 18,000 crore at Jamuria. The Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government had earlier promised to allocate the Nachan coal block in Burdwan district to Videocon. But after December 2007 no fresh coal block had been allocated in the state. The project hit a hurdle when Coal India opposed the project, claiming there was coal beneath the surface in Jamuria.
Later, alignment of the projects that encompassed coal-bearing areas was changed, but the global economic recession delayed the projects.
Speaking on the sidelines of the AGM of the Calcutta Chambers and Commerce, Dhoot said it would not split the project into two locations as envisaged earlier. It had planned to split the steel and power project into two locations.
“Now, we have decided not to split it. We shall go by our MoU with the state,” he added. Dhoot said land would not be a problem for the project. “The problem is not about land. It is about raw material, about coal linkages or an assurance. We have bought 600 acres already for the project. But, we need 400 acres more and that should not be a problem,” he said.
Chairman of Videocon, told reporters on Saturday (28th September) that it has sought help from the Mamata Banerjee government to get coal linkages for the project. “I am hopeful once the new allotment of coal blocks starts, we will get either coal block or coal linkage for the project. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has assured us that she would talk to the Centre about the coal linkage,” he added.
The oil-gas-power-to-consumer durable major is likely to invest Rs 3,500 crore in the first phase of the steel project. Earlier, there was speculation about the company scrapping the project.
This will definitely be a welcome relief for the people of South Bengal and specially the industrial belt of Durgapur-Asansol which has not seen much industrial activity in recent past, in spite of many big talks. However, Videocon group has already missed several deadlines, with the project delayed by over five years.