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Odisha attracts investors, but projects still in files

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Bhubaneswar: Odisha, a mineral rich state, may have attracted big ticket expressions of interest from potential investors and been ranked seventh in ease of doing business among the states, but it is miles behind in getting the projects off the ground.

Several mega projects, including Posco, continue to face hurdles in even getting off the ground while several have stalled. Companies have shied away from investing in the state for reasons ranging from not-so-business-friendly policies, environmental issues, land acquisition, protection of ethnic tribes and their culture and the menace of left-wing ultras.

A total of 264 mega projects evinced interest to set up projects with an investment of almost Rs. 8 lakh crore ($120 billion) between 2004 and 2015. The government had approved the projects through its single window clearance system.

“Out of these 264 projects, only 20 have successfully established their set-ups and have started partial or full production with an investment of Rs. 12,000 crore,” Industry Minister Debi Prasad Mishra said in the state assembly.

Besides, the government has inked memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with 92 companies worth Rs. 5.96 lakh crore. Out of this, 45 have started partial or full production with an investment of Rs. 2.45 lakh crore, Mishra added.

In the energy sector, as many as 20 independent power producers are yet to commence construction work on their projects. While the state government has inked MoU with 30 power producers, only four have started production, a senior official of the energy department told IANS, requesting anonymity.

The companies are expected to produce the thermal power of around 37,000 MW involving an investment of over Rs. 1 lakh crore.

Those projects that have begun despite all odds now facing raw material linkages, industry sources said.

Vedanta’s Chief Operating Officer (COO) Abhijit Pati, who met Odisha Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi a few days back, said the company’s one million tonnes per annum (MTPA) aluminium refinery at Lanjigarh in Kalahandi district is running at 50 percent capacity and incurring a loss of Rs. 3 crore per day due to the paucity of raw materials.

Then, there is Tata Steel’s newly-commissioned greenfield three mtpa steel mill at Kalinga Nagar but it is not running at full capacity, industry sources said.

In an attempt to reverse this state of affairs, the Odisha government has recently come out with a new edition of the Industrial Policy Resolution (IPR) to upgrade its rank among investors on ‘Ease of Doing Business’.

It has not only made it simpler to set up a business but also eased tax procedures for corporate houses.

The IPR has envisioned attracting new investments worth Rs. 1.73 lakh crore by 2019-20.

The policy is also loaded with features like a fast track cell to clear investment proposals within 30 days, a dedicated portal to ease business processes for investors and an exclusive mobile app for investment facilitation.

To overcome the land hurdle, the state government has also identified about 100,000 acres to create a land bank for facilitating to set up industries without any hassles, sources said.

The Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation of Odisha (IDCO) has ordered the acquisition of land at Angul, Balasore, Cuttack, Deras, Dhamra, Dhenkanal, Jharsuguda, Kalinga Nagar, Koraput, Paradip, Rayagada and Rourkela in the first phase.

Odisha has been ranked seventh in the “Assessment of State Implementation of Business Reforms” a collaborative effort of the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), the World Bank, consulting firm KPMG and business chambers CII and FICCI.

Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh were ranked first and second.(IANS, Chinmaya Dehury)

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Benefits Meant for the People Should Reach Them On Time: Prime Minister Narendra Modi

In a month, development projects worth more than Rs 20,000 crore have been either inaugurated or initiated in Odisha, said Modi

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"We ensured everyone gets what they deserve" PM Modi

Pime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday attacked previous governments at the Centre for ruling the country like their “Sultanates”, neglecting its rich heritage.

“Past governments ruled like Sultans and neglected our rich heritage. They ignored our glorious civilisation and failed to pay attention to their preservation,” said Modi while addressing a public meeting in Balangir town in Odisha.

“This criminal error will always stick to the parties, who the country gave the opportunity to run governments for decades. Surprisingly, they have not taken lessons from this,” he added.

He also attacked the state government under Naveen Patnaik and said the benefits meant for the people should reach them on time and must not be used as an election tool.

PM Modi
Benefits Meant for the People Should Reach Them On Time: Prime Minister Narendra Modi

 

This was Modi’s third visit to the state in the past three weeks and showed the importance that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was attaching to the state ahead of the general and assembly elections.

The Prime Minister said his government was committed to conserving and preserving the country’s rich cultural heritage.

He said his government has been constantly making efforts to bring back the idols stolen from the temples in India.

He also attacked the parties for opposing the International Yoga Day and the construction of the Statue of Unity.

“Some parties were against organising the International Yoga Day. These are the people who did not promote yoga. These people neither understand India nor tourism,” he added.

“They raised questions on erecting the statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. But, after becoming the world’s tallest statue, it has generated jobs for people residing around the structure.

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Elaborate preparations for PM’s election rally. VOA

“They were also against changing the names of islands in Andaman and Nicobar islands,” said Modi.

He said the central government has cancelled around six crore fake ration cards, gas connections, scholarships with wrong names, grabbing pension under wrong names over the last four years.

“We plugged these leakages, saving crores of rupees. All ration cards have been digitised and around 80 per cent of them have been linked with Aadhaar,” said the Prime Minister.

“The middlemen used to loot the money meant for poor. We have stopped this. We ensured everyone gets what they deserve,” he added.

The Prime Minister said there are people, who are angry because he has put a stop to their loot and corruption.

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PM believes in Constant Development and Promoting tourism.

Highlighting the developmental works being carried out by the Centre in the state, he attacked the Odisha government for failing to utilise the District Mineral Foundation (DMF) fund in the mineral bearing areas.

“Odisha has Rs 4,000 crore in its DMF Fund which has remained unutilised so far. What has happened to the government? It is in deep slumber. The government of Odisha should ensure that the benefits reach the tribal people.

“Do not wait for the elections. Ease the problems of people, elections will keep coming,” said Modi.

Also Read- Prime Minister Narendra Modi Claims BJP Was Not in Politics For “Divide and Rule”

He said the central government has allocated over Rs 20,000 crore for the development of Railways in Odisha in the last four years alone, which is five times more than the allocation by the previous government.

In a month, development projects worth more than Rs 20,000 crore have been either inaugurated or initiated in Odisha, said Modi. (IANS)