ArcelorMittal did not meet milestones; proj non-starter: State govt

New Delhi: A day after ArcelorMittal scrapped plans to build the USD 12 billion project in Odisha, the state government on Thursday said it was a "non-starter" and the steel maker was "never really interested" in setting up the plant there.
 
"ArcelorMittal was a non-starter and it was never really interested in building a steel plant in Odisha. It failed to meet major milestones though it had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with us in 2006," Odisha Steel and Mines Minister Rajni Kant Singh told PTI.
 
In a major jolt to state, the world's largest steel maker, in the biggest foreign investment pullout, on Wednesday had scrapped its USD 12 billion (Rs 50,000 crore) steel plant at Keonjhar over inordinate delays, problems in acquiring land and securing iron ore linkages.
 
Singh said ArcelorMittal was a big steel player but it failed to take initiatives in achieving milestones or carrying out any corporate social responsibility (CSR).
 
He added that identifying land for its project was steel giant's task but it lagged on that front and the impression with the government was that the company was "not interested".
 
"At the same time, it had promised plenty of jobs but it failed to take any initiative on that front as well. Odisha is a backward state and so is Keyonjhar, a backward region, but the company never came forward for CSR activities," he said.
 
The company, however, has claimed that since the announcement of the project it had completed important milestones such as the completion of a feasibility report, an environmental impact assessment study and other relevant technical reports.
 
Besides it has said that it also held eight gram sabhas (public hearings) and invested in a number of corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects.
 
It's Executive Vice President and member, Management Committee, CEO of India and China for ArcelorMittal, Vijay Bhatnagar has yesterday said, "Over the last seven years we have invested considerable resources into this project."
 
The steel giant yesterday informed Odisha Chief Secretary that "the company has decided not to progress with its planned construction of an integrated steel plant and a captive power plant in the district of Keonjhar." the company said in a statement.
 
In 2006, ArcelorMittal had signed an MoU with the Odisha government to set up a 12-million tonne steel plant in four phases at Keonjhar, entailing an investment of USD 12 billion (Rs 50,000 crore). The MoU was due for renewal since December, 2011.