Ramakanta Biswas

JSW steel chairman Sajjan Jindal took a veiled dig at the Odisha government during the third edition of the flagship investor summit, Make in Odisha Conclave 2022. 

Speaking at the conclave, Sajjan made observation regarding land acquisition process undertaken in the State to facilitate setting up of industries. 

“Mr Hemant Sharma in his fabulous presentation mentioned about 30 acres in 30 days, 50 acres in 50 days. But I was going to add, that doesn’t mean 3,000 acres would take 3,000 days. So that need not be done,” the JSW steel chairman commented.  

Sajjan’s observation in front of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and a pack of prominent industrialists of the country has sparked off a debate. It is not clear whether Sajjan merely expressed doubt or he was disappointed with the alleged failure of the State government in land acquisition. 

Notably, the JSW is setting up a 13.2 mt mega steel plant on the controversial POSCO land in Jagatsinghpur district. Sajjan’s remark fuelled speculations about whether land acquisition has become a hurdle for the project just like POSCO or has the State government failed to provide land as per the deadline? 

Not only land acquisition, industrialists have also raised questions on lack of industrial infrastructure in the State at the current Make In Odisha Conclave. 

Tata Steel MD said, “Any steel plant means movement of three to four times of materials that you producing. And that means the rail infrastructure and port infrastructure and road infrastructure, all these need to be upgraded much more than it is today to keep up with the pace of the steel investments that’s happening.” 

Despite the open discontent of industrialists, the Odisha government has received investment proposals worth Rs 10.5 lakh crore in this edition of the investor summit. However, going by the previous records, questions have been raised as to how much investments will actually take place in the State. 

In last two editions of the conclave, the State government had received investment proposals of Rs 6 lakh crore. However, the government has so far received only Rs 5674.56 crore investments. 

Of the total 286 proposals, only 16 proposals have been implemented in the State till the date. Therefore, industrial bodies and experts expressed concerns over the benefit the State will receive from this edition of the conclave. 

Rajib Sahu, financial expert said, “To facilitate setting up of industries, the State industries department needs good preparations apart from handling each company, each group and each industry properly.”

Brahmananda Mishra, president UCCI, said, “Many high-end presentations were made at the Make In Odisha Conclave. Many investors took part in the conclave and made commitments for investments. However, the challenge is to see how we can implement the proposals.”
Reported by Kapilendra Pradhan, OTV