Raipur, Aug 27 (PTI) Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel has urged the Centre not to privatize a steel plant which the National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) is seting up in Bastar district.
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Baghel said that as per media reports, the Centre is planning to hand over the Nagarnar steel plant, being constructed at a cost of over Rs 20,000 crore, to private firms.
'The state was very enthusiastic that the commissioning of the steel plant in Bastar will not only ensure utilization of minerals but also provide thousands of direct and indirect employment opportunities in the area,' he said in the letter.
'It would be very unfortunate if the upcoming public sector steel plant is privatized,' Baghel said, adding that the move will 'deeply hurt the hopes and aspirations of millions of tribals'.
'The state government has been successful in curbing Naxal activities with its considerable efforts. The news of possible privatization of the Nagarnar Steel Plant has shocked the people of Bastar,' the chief minister claimed.
Naxals could take undue advantage of 'tribals' discontent', he warned.
'About 610 hectares of private land has been acquired for setting up the Nagarnar Steel Plant...about 211 hectares of government land was allotted by the state government.
'Of this 211 hectares, only 27 hectares of land was given conditionally to the NMDC for 30 years while the rest of the land is still owned by the state government,' he said.
'The state government had transferred land to the Industry department on the condition that it will be used only for the purpose of setting up a steel plant by NMDC,' Baghel said.
The Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996, is in force in the state to protect the interests of tribals, he said.
The state government had already extended the lease period of four iron ore mines of NMDC in Bailadila area of Dantewada for next 20 years so that jobs get created in Bastar, he said.
The Centre should therefore reconsider its decision to privatize the plant, the letter said.
NMDC officials said the three million tonnes per annum-capacity plant is likely to be commissioned next year.
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