Kadapa Steel Plant: Centre blame AP of not cooperating

Within hours of foundation stone ceremony the Steel Ministry issued a statement accusing the AP government of not cooperating in preparation of the feasibility report. (DH File Photo)

An unusual fight between the centre and the state of Andhra Pradesh ensued with Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu laying the foundation stone for the construction of Rs 18,000 crore steel plant in Kadapa district on Friday morning. 

Within hours the Steel Ministry issued a statement accusing the AP government of not cooperating in preparation of the feasibility report.

There was a provision for setting up a steel plant in Kadapa district in the Andhra Pradesh Re-Organisation Act. However, the Steel Authority of India studied the proposals and found the proposal not feasible. After a wait of four and a half years, Chandrababu Naidu ‘s cabinet cleared the proposal for setting up the plant under state government management. Hours after the event on Thursday, the steel ministry issued statement squarely blaming the state government for the delay.

In spite of the lack of feasibility, Steel Ministry keeping the best interest of the newly formed State of Andhra Pradesh in mind has appointed a high-level Task Force which has been holding meetings periodically and the last meeting took place on 17 December. 

The Steel Minister, Chaudhary Birender Singh has held several meetings on the subject with all stakeholders including public representatives from the State of Andhra Pradesh in order to expeditiously explore all possibilities for finalising the due diligence and feasibility report, the statement said.

State Government has not yet given required information on availability of the mines and iron ore for the proposed steel plant, it said. The State Government itself has engaged Geological Survey of India (GSI) for doing the exploration work of Obulapuram Mines which is a pre-requisite for finalization of the feasibility report. “State Government has not shared information whether any survey is at all taking place and whether the State Government has given the necessary forest clearance for conducting such survey”.

The Centre informed that the Task Force had engaged MECON, a premier steel consulting company to prepare the draft feasibility report and it has been struggling to get this information in order to finalise the draft report. “In spite of the seven meetings of the Task Force, this information, which is essential is not forthcoming from the State Government. State Government is not divulging the exact situation on ground with regard to the type of mine, quantity and quality of iron ore reserves.

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