Chhattisgarh CM demands Nagarnar plant to be handed over to state

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Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel has demanded under-construction Nagarnar plant in his state to be handed over to the state "if the Centre is unable to run the plant". Baghel said this replying to a question on the decision of divestment of the plant even before its completion.

The decision is not at all wise, he said adding the plant is being set up at a cost of over 20,000 crore and it will be privatised.

It was the land which belonged to the tribes. The land was given by them thinking that a public sector industry will come upon it and people will get jobs. It was not given for privatisation, he told .

The Chhattisgarh government is against this decision and if they (Centre) can not run Nagarnar plant they can give it to the state government which can run it, he said.

"What is the use of divestment (of the plant) when NMDC can do better with it. I even renewed the mining leases of NMDC mines in Chhattisgargh. What else do you want," he said.

Last week, the Chhattisgarh government extended leases of state-owned NMDC's four mines in the state by 20 years to avoid interruptions in iron ore supply -- a key steel making raw material -- to the sector.

Baghel also criticized Centre's decision of opening up of commercial coal mining for the private sector.

In a major reform in the coal sector since its nationalisation in 1973, the central government last year in February had allowed private companies to mine the fossil fuel for commercial use, ending the monopoly of state-owned Coal India Ltd (CIL). The Centre had termed the move as the most ambitious coal sector reform since the nationalisation of this sector.

"Every industry..you take BPCL it earns and gives an amount of Rs 16,000 crore every year. They are privatising it. You take steel sector, they are doing the same in it. In coal also you gave it into the private hands," Baghel said.

The country's largest iron ore miner NMDC, under the Ministry of Steel, is setting up its first steel plant having capacity of 3 MTPA in Nagarnar in Bastar district of Chhattisgarh.

The plant was in the list of public sector enterprises lined up by the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) for strategic divestment.

However, the proposal for strategic divestment of the steel plant was later differed by an Inter-Ministerial Group for Divestment until the unit becomes operational.

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