Wednesday, February 4, 2015


The Pioneer, Feb 4, 2015
The Sesa Sterlite Limited’s (previously Vedanta Aluminium Limited) Rs52,000-crore investment in Odisha is the largest on ground investment made by any company in the State ever. Still, the future of the project is hanging fire owing to the delay in policy decision mechanism of the State Government. Despite numerous requests made by the company to solve its issues, the progress is next to zero.
The SSL has already set up a one-million-tonne-per-annum (MTPA) alumina refinery and an associated 75-MW captive power plant at Lanjigarh, a 0.5-MTPA aluminum smelter and a 1215-MW captive power plant and a 2400-MW Independent Power Plant at Jharsuguda. Another 1.25-MTPA smelting plant is also ready for commercial production at Jharsuguda.
However, the company has been facing difficulties in get going for two major issues. The 1.25-MTPA Jharsuguda smelter is lying idle for lack of power supply. The State Government is yet to give permission to the SSL to use power from its own 2400-MW plant located at the same site. SSL MD SK Roongta, in a recent letter to the State Chief Secretary, has written, “Commissioning of the new smelter plant will generate substantial employment opportunity and additional revenue for the State Government. But that needs power supply.” He added, “Since Odisha is now a power-surplus State, we may be allowed to use this power for running the new smelter plant to full capacity.”
On the part of the SSL, which provided the State-run Gridco 600 MW power for three years during the power shortage, it seems logical for it to seek permission to divert the power towards its own plant as the State is power-surplus. More so as the power supply would infuse life into the idle 1.25-MTPA smelter inducing better employment and livelihood opportunities and faster economic growth of the State.
The Lanjigarh alumina refinery is forced to operate way below its capacity as the State Government has not been able to provide the bauxite it promised and the company has to resort to costly imports. Though the company has identified 32 mining sites in the State that can suffice its requirements, it needs some decisive steps on part of the administration to resolve the problem.
The company’s persistent requests to the Government to resolve its issues have failed to produce results so far. Despite Group Head Anil Agarwal meeting Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik twice in the recent past, and the CM promising to resolve the issues in a few months’ time, there has been no progress in the situation.
Looking at the socioeconomic benefits, including employment opportunities of more than 1,00,000, on offer if the Vedanta units operate at full capacity, it is considered to be of utmost importance for the State to resolve the issues at the earliest.

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