A year after world’s biggest steel giant, ArcelorMittal decided to back out from its much-hyped investment of $6.5 billion in a steel plant at Ballari, in India’s southern Karnataka state, Tata Steel is reportedly eying the 2,800 acres of land allocated to ArcelorMittal, the Deccan Heard newspaper reported.
It quoted highly placed sources in the state government as saying Tata Steel is keen to shift its integrated steel plant project to Ballari from Haveri where land was identified for it.
“Tata Steel is learnt to have expressed interest in setting the plant in ore-rich Ballari if the land was provided. However, Tata Steel is yet to begin formal talk with the state government seeking land for its proposed steel plant at Kudathini near Ballari”, it quoted a top source as saying.
ArcelorMittal, in February 2016 sought permission to change the use of 2,800 acres of land at Ballari to set up a 600 MW solar power plant, since the 2,800 acres has already been allotted to it for a mega steel plant.
Tata Steel, expressing interest over land in Ballari comes at the time when sources said that the state government faces a serious dilemma: whether to take back 7,500 acres allotted to ArcelorMittal and Miglani family-owned Uttam Galva Steel in Ballari district to set up steel plants or allow them to use the land for alternative purposes, the newspaper said.
“If we take back the land, it may send a wrong signal to investors. If we don’t, the land may be used for setting up solar plants, which will not generate employment as a steel or any other heavy industry will,” said a senior officer at industries department.