The proposed six million tonne steel project by Jindal Steel and Power Limited (JSPL) here is ready with its infrastructure for the first phase but can not take off because of lack of support from the State Government.
Having already spent ` 16,000 crore to create facilities of sorts, it is still waiting for iron ore and coal linkages. Thanks to the State Government which assured such linkages by virtue of an MoU signed with JSPL which has so far not been honoured. All that JSPL takes credit for today is commissioning of 135 mw x 4 units of captive power plants and a plate mill, the best in the country, which boasts of a capacity of 1.25 million tonne.
Lack of iron ore and coal linkages forced JSPL to go for backward integration in terms of steel production with the help of imported slabs coming from its Raigarh plant in Chhattisgarh to its mega set up here for plate making. The country’s widest and thinnest steel plates are manufactured from its plant in the first phase.
Though the infrastructure for the first phase of steel plant involving two million tonne capacity is ready and is on trial, it can not go on full steam unless JSPL gets an iron ore mine and the licence to exploit the coal block “Utkal 1” allotted to it. “We would require four months to achieve our optimum production from the steel mill from the date we get permission to mine iron ore and coal,” said Ravi Uppal, Managing Director of JSPL.
The emphasis on coal is because of its need for converting it to gas for its directly reduced iron (DRI) technology which would not only consume less energy to give the company an edge but also reduce its dependence on diesel to heat up blast furnaces. JSPL is ready with its coal-gassifier plant, which it claims to be the largest in the world, but non-availability of coal despite allotment of the block has hampered the progress.
Uppal said first phase of JSPL envisaged at a cost of `30,000 crore with a capacity of six million tonne of steel can only happen with the support of State Government.
“We came to Odisha with a lot of exuberance and stuck to our side of commitment but future depends on the support of the State Government,” he said.