Tribune News Service
Mumbai, January 25
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has decided to go ahead with Devendra Fadnavis’ proposal to set up a steel township in Naxal-hit Gadchiroli district, as per sources.
Earlier this week, Minister for Public Works Eknath Shinde, who is the guardian minister for Gadchiroli district, visited officials in the district and discussed constructing a township on the lines of Bhilai or Jamshedpur.
The sources said the Maharashtra government was open to the idea of setting up the plant either in the private or public sector. However, priority would be given to locals from the district.
As per the original proposal made by the BJP government in the state, a mega steel plant was to come up at Surjagad, where mining of iron ore was permitted in 2007. However, the project received a setback in 2013 when Maoist guerrillas gunned down executives of the private company getting licences to mine iron ore.
Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, who hails from the Vidarbha region of which Gadchiroli is a part, had mooted the idea of the Tatas building a steel township on the lines of Jamshedpur.
The sources said Surjagad had huge reserves of iron ore and coal, both of which were essential for steel production. According to the Nagpur-based Chamber of Associations of Maharashtra Industry and Trade (CAMIT), iron ore reserves in Surjagarh are estimated at 180 MT, while nearly 5,000 MT of coal is estimated to be available in Nagpur and Chandrapur districts.
“While the state government will be responsible for land acquisition, rehabilitating those living in the area, granting of mining lease and environmental clearances is the subject of the Central Government,” officials said.
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