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NMDC wants Project Monitoring Group to clear project backlog

New Delhi (PTI): State-owned NMDC has approached Prime Minister’s Project Monitoring Group, which was set up to fast track stalled large investment projects, as five of its new and expansion projects, including Rs 15,525 crore steel plant in Chhattisgarh, are stuck for want of clearances.

Development of Bailadila iron ore deposit-13, which is envisaged to have 10 million tonnes (MT) capacity and 4 MT iron ore beneficiation plant at Bacheli are other two major projects waiting for clearances, official sources said, adding that PMG’s help has been sought for them as well.

Both the projects are located in Chhattisgarh and are crucial in NMDC’s scheme of things as it is planning to expand iron ore production capacity to 40 MT annually by 2017 from existing 27-28 MT per annum. The two projects are estimated to get about Rs 4,100 crore investment.

The PMG has also been requested to facilitate clearances to other two projects — Shahpur coal block in Madhya Pradesh and Arki limestone project in Himachal Pradesh, they said.

The projects are pending mostly with the forest department and require either minor diversion of the forest lands or forest clearance, the sources said, adding that lack of clearances are affecting completion of the projects.

Citing the example of Bailadila iron ore deposit-13, which is part of forest land, they said that application for clearance is pending with the Environment Ministry since November 2010.

Similarly, application for forest clearance for the Bacheli beneficiation plant was moved in October, 2012, as it requires 33 hectares of forest land. The proposal is still to be considered by Forest Department for registration and allotment of registration number for further process.

Talking about the upcoming 3 million tonnes steel plant in Nagarnar, through which NMDC will be diversifying into the steel sector, the sources said that one part of project, involving construction of 32 km long water pipeline, is stuck due to lack of forest clearance.

The pipeline corridor falls in forest area involving 27.50 hectares of forest land and requires Forest clearance under Forest Conservation Act, 1980 for right of way (ROW) for laying the pipeline.

The project, involving Rs 1,000 crore investment, is an integral part of the steel plant as it will draw 53.69 million cubic metres of water from Saberi river to meet plant’s needs.

The sources said that further delay in approval may lead to delay in commissioning the steel plant, planned for mid-2015.

The Prime Minister’s Project Monitoring Group was set up by the government last year as a facilitating body for resolving specific issues of the large projects and fast tracking them.

On Wednesday, its head and Additional Secretary in the Cabinet Secretariat Anil Swarup had said that the PMG has resolved issues in 147 projects so far, entailing around Rs 5 lakh crore investments.

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