November 18, 2015

Odisha Channel Bureau Bhubaneswar: In his attempt to draw maximum political mileage at a time when his government’s image has taken a beating in the wake of large number of farmer suicides, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik inaugurated Tata Steel’s second integrated steel plant in India at Kalinganagar in Odisha’s Jajpur district today.Patnaik dedicated the steel plant to the State in the absence of any Minister from the Centre to claim credit for the project.The plant was commissioned even though the judicial inquiry into the killing of 14 tribal men and women at Kalinganagar in January 2006 is yet to end.The tribals were killed in police firing while they were opposing construction of the boundary wall for the then proposed steel plant project of Tata Steel.tata-kalinganagarTata group chairman Cyrus Mistry, Tata Steel MD T.V.Narendran and many other dignitaries were present when Patnaik inaugurated the largest single location Greenfield steel project of Tata Steel in India.The construction of the first phase of the proposed six million tonne per annum capacity steel mill has been completed at a cost of Rs.25,000 crore.In the first phase, the plant will produce 3 mtpa hot-rolled steel.Kalinganagar steel plant of Tata Steel is the company’s second steel mill after the 10 mtpa capacity plant at Jamshedpur.Meanwhile, more than 100 people were taken into custody for opposing Patnaik’s visit to Kalinganagar before he arrived there to inaugurate the steel plant.The activists belonged to the Congress and Bisthapan Birodhi Janamanch, an organization of local tribals that has been opposing the steel project all these years.However, Patnaik, who flew down to Kalinganagar from Bhubaneswar, landed his helicopter within the steel plant’s premises without facing any opposition from the people.It may be recalled here that Patnaik had not bothered to visit Kalinganagar after the police firing though leaders from all opposition parties as well the leaders of BJP, which was a partner in the alliance government those days, had visited the area.According to political analysts, Patnaik wanted early commissioning of the steel plant as his government has been facing severe criticism from opposition parties due to suicide by more than 100 farmers in different districts of Odisha since September this year.He also wanted to send out a message that industrialization process in Odisha has not stopped during his rule.On the other hand, Tata Steel was happy to keep Patnaik in good humour before the upcoming auctioning of iron ore mines in Odisha in the coming weeks.Though Tata Steel has several captive iron ore mines in its hands, it wants to possess more such mines in Odisha, according to sources.

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