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Tata Steel SEZ may house downstream steel unit, assembly line for battery cars

Jayajit Dash / Bhubaneswar 26 Jul 17 | 01:42 AM

Tata Steel Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Ltd is in talks with a Russia based firm to put up a facility for downstream steel products at its Gopalpur industrial park in Odisha. The steel company is the anchor tenant for the park spreading over 2900 acres where 1235 acres have been notified as an SEZ.
“Discussions are on with a Russia based company for a steel downstream plant. We have exchanged data. We are inviting investments in priority sectors identified by the Odisha government", said Arun Misra, managing director, Tata Steel SEZ Ltd and vice president, Project Gopalpur.


In its capacity as the anchor tenant, Tata Steel has invested around Rs 500 crore on a ferro chrome plant with an annual production rate of 55,000 tonnes. The park has 12 investment intents in the pipeline- a mix of overseas and domestic proposals across sectors like steel downstream, auto components manufacturing, logistics, metals and wellness products.

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Tata Steel SEZ Ltd, a 100 per cent subsidiary of Tata Steel, is negotiating with an auto components manufacturer for a possible assembly line at Gopalpur.


“The company that we are talking to has a universal platform for battery driven cars. They have shown interest. But, the talks are still very preliminary", said Misra.


Efforts are on to tap investments in the services space which in the longer run has greater employment potential than manufacturing. An overseas investor has evinced interest to set up an ecosystem for tourism. This envisages grooming multi-skilled hospitality professionals at an institute. Skill development would be at the core of investment strategy.


In pharmaceuticals, there is a proposal by an NRI for development of wellness products. Tata Steel SEZ Ltd also has a proposal in logistics sector where the developer intends to import material, repackage and redistribute the cargo. 


The fate of these string of investment proposals is still mired in uncertainty due to unsavoury scene at Tata Steel's Gopalpur plant on the ground. Agitating locals, demanding jobs and compensation, have forcibly shut down the operations of Tata Steel's ferro chrome plant since May 20 this year. The steel company is pinning hopes on the local administration to resolve the deadlock.


“We cannot provide jobs to all the affected people unless the investors come. We are already doing R&R (rehabilitation & resettlement) worth Rs 360 crore. At the end of the day, we are a listed company and we are responsible to our shareholders", said Misra.


He said, the company has expanded the list of claimants for compensation from 946 to 1800. While the original claimants were disbursed a compensation package of Rs seven lakh per acre, the additional claimants are being paid at the rate of Rs five lakh per acre.


Undeterred by the stir, Tata Steel SEZ Ltd is going ahead with marketing and promotional activities for the SEZ. It is setting its eyes on the mega industrial expo at Xiamen (China) likely in September or October this year.


In the first phase, Tata Steel SEZ Ltd is aiming to firm up investments for 500 acres out of the notified area of 1235 acres. “If there is peace on the ground, I can start work on infrastructure at the site", said Misra.


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