Billionaire Lakshmi N Mittal, whose company's projects worth USD 22 billion have been held up for over four years for want of regulatory clearances and land, told reporters this was so because no one quite saw the rapid growth coming.
"We blame the whole country for this because we did not experience this kind of growth, we did not experience this kind of interest in investments in India," he said, adding that neither the Centre nor the states were prepared for this kind of investment in the steel industry.
In 2005, Mittal signed a pact with Orissa government for a 12 MTPA steel plant and shortly after announced plans for an identical project in Jharkhand, but they are yet to come up.
"Clearly, we are not satisfied with the progress that ArcelorMittal has made so far. There have also been delays in processes because Indian government as well as the state governments have never received such... mega investments."
"I am sure Prime Minister (Manmohan Singh) is also not satisfied with the progress. He has told many a times that these investments should be accelerated," Mittal said.
These delays are despite India making public that it needs over USD 500 billion in investments in infrastructure sector and that too steel being a key construction material.
Mittal met the Steel Minister and Karnataka chief minister, whose government has cleared a Rs 30,000 crore investment proposal by the steel maker.
"Just offering lands is not enough. If there is delay...the lands are not right for setting up the steel plants. We may not accept it, after all we have to set up a steel plant," Mittal said.
Asked if the steel behemoth will hold talks with Orissa and Jharkhand, he said, "We are investors. We are not here to fight with the state governments."
He clarified that his company was not withdrawing investments plans in Orissa and Jharkhand. However, the company would prioritise investments depending on the treatment the company gets in different states.
"We are open to all possibilites...we are discussing with various states," he said replying to a question if mineral-rich Chhattisgarh would also be approached.