Odisha lost a mere 17 jobs from Posco Pull Out, 12 from Mittal: Industry Min

Industry Minister’s reply in the house was nothing less than startling when he said that POSCO withdrawal saw a potential job loss of 17 while Arcelor Mittal's back out led to potential job loss of mere 12!

Bhubaneswar: When Odisha sees creation of around 14,000 jobs per lakh crore of investment, the disgusting revelation is the State has  not only lost Rs 2.348 lakh crore investments since 2004-05 but also lost an opportunity to create at least 39,000 jobs.

However, the State Industry Minister Dibya Shankar Mishra’s written statement in State Assembly bares bigger home truths. It appears the Minister has tried his best to downplay the potential job losses to Odisha post the grounding of 16 big-ticket industrial commitments, including POSCO and Arcelor Mittal.

As per the statement laid in House, a total of 16 big industrial investment commitments made during the period 2004-11 were grounded. The big names include POSCO, Arcelor Mittal and Jindals.

The statement reveals that 16 projects totalling Rs 2,34,800 crore failed to materialise. And the resultant job losses were estimated at 38,994.

However, a detailed look reveals the job loss data submitted in the House as an understatement.

Sample this. As per State Industry Minister Dibya Shankar Mishra, Arcelor Mittal had entered into an MoU with the State to set up a 12 MTPA (Million Tonne Per Annum) steel project in Keonjhar with an investment of Rs 40,000 crore. But the employment potential the 12MTPA steel plant holds for the State was mere 12!

Similarly, as per the statement laid, POSCO, touted as country’s biggest ever FDI investment, had made a proposal to invest Rs 51,000 crore to bring up a 12 MTPA steel plant in Paradeep. But the surprising part of industry Minister’s reply is, the much-touted POSCO project holds an employment potential for mere 17 persons!

Now, consider the contrast. POSCO CMD Soung-Sik Cho had then clearly announced at a presser in Odisha that POSCO project holds a potential of at least 7000 direct jobs in its Phase -I. He had then declared that Odisha is all set to see gainful employment of around 48,000 jobs from POSCO project.

What is baffling is when Minister’s reply has quoted the proposed investment commitment of POSCO, how could he, at the same time not quote the promised job potential for the State by POSCO and put it as 17?

Moreover, as per an empirical analysis done on jobs created per lakh crore investment, it has been observed that steel sector churns off 66,000 jobs per lakh crore investment.

Since the two big-ticket proposals together account for Rs 91,000 crore investment, the jobs they would have produced in Odisha had been pegged at around 60,000.

Industry watchers, therefore, are of the opinion that in order to downplay the job losses post the grounding of big – ticket projects, the reply tabled has cleverly mentioned that job losses post POSCO withdrawal as a mere 17, and 12 in case of Arcelor Mittal.