Karnataka has acquired around 800 acres of land near Bellary, out of the required 4,000 acres for ArcelorMittal’s project—for which the steelmaker has already deposited Rs300 crore. The State government expects to procure the rest of the land over the next four to five months
Finally, the world's largest steelmaker, ArcelorMittal's dream plan of setting up a greenfield project in India, has started materialising, as Karnataka has begun acquiring land for the project.
"The State government has acquired around 800 acres for the project so far, and the rest of the land will be acquired over the next four to five months," a highly-placed source in the Karnataka government, who is familiar with the development, told Moneylife, preferring anonymity.
This information (of the State acquiring land) was confirmed by Mr Satish (who goes by only one name), who is joint director, Karnataka Udyog Mitra, the Government of Karnataka organisation which promotes and facilitate investments, and assists investors. He told Moneylife, "The land acquisition is in progress."
The company requires around 4,000 acres for its proposed six-million-tonnes-a-year integrated steel plant and a 750-MW captive power plant. ArcelorMittal plans to invest around Rs30,000 crore for the project.
Last month, BS Yeddyurappa, chief minister, Karnataka, offered two sites for ArcelorMittal's proposed project. Now Bellary has been selected, according to information received by Moneylife.
"We have started acquiring land at Bellary. Notifications and other initial processes have been completed and compensations are being paid to farmers and landowners," said Mr Satish.
"The company has deposited around Rs300 crore for the land acquisition," he added.
After several failed attempts to set up integrated projects in Orissa and Jharkhand, the LN Mittal-controlled company choose Karnataka, which possesses rich iron ore deposits, to set up its plant.
"The construction work will start once the land-acquisition process is completed," added the government source.
The company had plans to set up two 6 million tonnes per annum steel plants in both Orissa and Jharkhand-with an investment of Rs1,000 billion-to tap surging demand, mainly from the auto and construction sectors, for steel in India, one of the fastest growing economies in the world. However, ArcelorMittal's plans could not be executed as landowners refused to surrender their lands for the projects in both Orissa and Jharkhand.
In fact, most steelmakers' plans to set up greenfield projects in Orissa and Jharkhand have remained unfulfilled, due to stiff opposition from locals and environment clearances.
Korean major POSCO will also set up its second integrated steel plant in Karnataka and it has already identified the location.
"POSCO has chosen Halligudi in Gadag district and till today (it has) deposited Rs60 crore," Mr Satish told Moneylife.
The South Korean steel major will acquire 3,000 acres of land and will invest around Rs30,000 crore for the six-million-tonnes-a-year plant.
Recently, the Korean major had received a green signal from the MoEF to build a 12-million-tonne-a-year steel plant in Orissa.
Industry experts feel that the participation of the global steel companies is actively needed to achieve the country's target of producing 120 million tonnes of steel per annum by the end of 2012. According to the World Steel Association, whose members produce around 85% of the world's steel, India produced 66.8 million tonnes in the last year. Indian steelmakers expect that the country's steel demand will rise by 9% to 10% in the coming years.
Young couples have voiced their distaste for the reckless attacks on those celebrating Valentine’s Day, forcing the majority of the moral police to keep away from the celebrations this year
Valentine's Day, till last year, was synonymous with overly crowded eating joints, advance sell-outs at multiplexes, red rose-overloads at florists and of course saffron hooliganism. This year, though, saffron mobsters appear to have kept away. These self-proclaimed 'nationalists' who, armed with sindoor packs, patrolled dating hotspots, vandalised gift shops and thrashed cuddly teddy bears, have taken a break. And it looks like they will be off for quite some time.
All seems to be quiet on the saffron front this year. There have been no public threats to youngsters, no volunteer armies have been assigned to beat up the lovebirds and one hasn't seen any militant posters claiming to protect Indian culture. Rather, there seems to be an air of acceptance of the inevitable. The Shiv Sena, Bajrang Dal, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) have publicly declared that they would not disrupt Valentine's Day.
Om Dutt Sharma, Shiv Sena spokesperson, said in a statement, "There is no point in holding protests and demonstrations as we cannot stop people from celebrating. So this year we will not hold protests of this kind."
Bajrang Dal state convenor in Delhi, Shailendra Jaiswal, echoed the sentiments of the Asom Sena and Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuva Chatra Parishad to celebrate the occasion responsibly, without behaving 'immorally' in public.
The Orissa Bajrang Dal wing has chosen to use 'non-violent' means to preserve the dignity of Indian culture. This time it says that its members will record instances of public display of affection and upload these on YouTube. The usual terror tactics are absent.
But what has happened to the most impassioned 'defender of Indian culture', who even instigated the beating up of women in pubs, to remind them of their position in society?
Pramod Muthalik and his Ram Sene seem to have been wiped out from public memory. Of course, the BJP government in Karnataka is in enough trouble, and it is impossible for him to go out on a campaign of militant nationalism. Mr Muthalik will probably not forget Valentine's Day, because it was on 14 Februrary 2009 that some youngsters publicly blackened his face.
Despite all of this and a ban order from a Mangalore court, Mr Muthalik was unrepentant. Then came the hugely popular 'pink chaddi' campaign, which reduced him to a laughing stock and marked an effective public dismissal.
Two years ago, Valentine's Day was turned into a day of national protest by women who felt enough was enough, after the vandalism by the Ram Sene at the Mangalore pub. Four women decided to present Mr Muthalik with the perfect gift they thought he deserved: pink underwear. Word spread through newspapers and TV, Facebook and Twitter were abuzz with the campaign, and posters came up on several college campuses. Collection booths were set up everywhere, and contributions came through the day. On the Day, several boxes full of pink underwear were delivered to Mr Muthalik and his cohorts, which was followed by an embarrassed silence from the Sene camp.
Mr Muthalik made a feeble attempt at a comeback last year, declaring that he would send bangles to all those women who had participated in the 'pink chaddi' campaign. But both the media and the public dismissed him, and Mr Muthalik vanished from public memory. The ladies, it seems, had the last laugh.
The saffron silence about Valentine's Day is understandable. The parties have finally understood that antagonising young people will cost them very dearly. According to a news wire report, since the entry of Aditya Thackeray, the grandson of Balasahed Thackeray, the party top brass has chosen to play the employment card to attract youth. Besides, fresh elections to the civic body in Mumbai are fast approaching.
Also, the Shiv Sena's flopped campaign against the blockbuster My Name Is Khan could have sounded the warning. The public, particularly youngsters, put their foot down and marched to the theatres in huge numbers in a clear display of support for Shahrukh Khan, whom the Shiv Sena had labelled a 'Pakistani' and a traitor.
These instances have possibly been eye-openers for the moral police with the youth announcing loudly that they are no longer in the mood to take such behaviour lying down. Let's spread the love.
In a separate filing to the BSE, Reliance Infra said it has received the approval of its board of directors to buy back its own shares for an aggregate amount of up to Rs1,000 crore ($222 million) at a price not exceeding Rs725 per equity share
Mumbai: Reliance Infrastructure today posted a 10.16% rise in net profit for the quarter ended 31 December 2010, to Rs405.25 crore compared to Rs367.87 crore for the same period last year, the company said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE).
Total operating income of the company rose to Rs3,744 crore in the October-December quarter from Rs3,287 crore in the corresponding quarter a year ago, it added.
In a separate filing to the BSE, the company said it has received the approval of its board of directors to buy back its own shares for an aggregate amount of up to Rs1,000 crore ($222 million) at a price not exceeding Rs725 per equity share.
The buy-back will be made from the open market through the stock exchanges, it added.
Meanwhile, shares of the company closed at Rs 627.10 apiece on the BSE today, up 1.85% from its previous close.