Business India ×
  Magazine:
Interview

Published on: Feb. 12, 2021, 5:03 p.m.
‘New steel plants in Chhattisgarh will generate employment, attract investment’
  • Baghel: we were amongst the first to bounce back and continue industrial production

By Yeshi Seli. Assistant Editor, Business India

How did the outbreak of Covid-19 impact industrial production in Chhattisgarh?

Well, the pandemic did impact all of us. However, we were amongst the first to bounce back and continue industrial production. During the lockdown, our state produced 2.7 million tonnes of steel – which happens to be the highest amongst all states. We offered industries incentives like extending the deadline of payment of their electricity bills. Around April 2020, our industries had begun to reopen. I would also add that our state has signed 104 MoUs in the past two years, with a proposed investment of Rs42,000 crore.

Talking of steel, there has been talk of opening new steel plants in Bastar. Can you elaborate on that?

Chhattisgarh has 18 per cent of India’s iron ore reserves and, in a bid to boost the steel production of the state, we have approved the setting up of four-five steel plants in Bastar. This would not just generate employment, but also attract investment, which could counter Naxalism. The iron ore reserves in Bastar and Durg districts are estimated to be around 4.06 million tonnes. These reserves are of high grade ore, containing over 65 per cent iron.

There was talk about the state buying the Nagarnar steel plant?

Yes. A unanimous resolution has been passed in the Chhattisgarh legislative assembly that the state government will buy the Nagarnar Steel plant of Bastar, if it is considered for disinvestment. The question is about the identity of Chhattisgarh and the feelings of the tribals of Bastar. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) had agreed in November 2016 to sell 51 per cent of the National Minerals Development Corporation (NMDC) Nagarnar Steel plant to a private player. If this was to happen it would become difficult to control Naxalite activities.

About 637 acres of government land and 1,506 acres of private land have been used for this plant. The tribals gave the land on the condition that public enterprises would be set up there. Repeated objections were also lodged by the asset advisor, the legal advisor to the government of India, that the plant should not be sold. Nagarnar Steel Plant is a greenfield project, where a three-million tpa capacity plant is nearing completion. It is 16 km away from Jagdalpur and was made with an estimated outlay of Rs21,500 crore.

Let’s digress a bit from industries to health. It is understood that the state is working hard to eradicate malaria. Can you elaborate?

Malaria is a big health issue in Bastar. We launched a campaign called ‘Malaria mukt Bastar’ and have witnessed a 65 per cent reduction in cases since the beginning of 2020. Work didn’t stop even during the pandemic.

According to statistics, malaria cases in September 2020 were 1,458 compared to 4,230 in the corresponding period of 2019. We are happy with the success of this campaign. Malaria is one of the biggest reasons for the death of children in Chhattisgarh and the state health department is doing all it takes to control it.

What is the Godhan Nyaya Yojana?

Godhan Nyaya Yojana was launched in the beginning of 2020. The scheme aims at uplifting the rural economy, facilitating organic farming, preventing the movement of stray animals and improving waste disposal. In line with the same, we set up a ‘Godhan Emporium’ in Saraguaja district, Ambikapur, in the middle of December. Products made of cow dung, ranging from vermicompost to incense sticks, are being sold there. This is not just environment-friendly, but will also ensure that ‘dry’ cattle are taken care of by their owners, as they will become a source of additional income.

Don't miss this

Cover Feature

Why September is crucial

The true picture of the economy has started to emerge. A lot now depends on consumer demand

Special Report

Markets on a new high

The markets, which have given a thumbs-up to the government’s policies, may hit the pause button for a few sessions

Focus

Island of distress

Lanka’s fragile liquidity situation has put it at high risk of debt distress

Corporate Report

JB Chemicals new formulations for growth

The company is all geared up to start its next growth phase

Our letter to you, once a week.
Register with The CSR Weekly for free!

E-MAGAZINE
Why September is crucial
Top Business Houses
Paytm The Indian Fintech Giant
FROM THIS ISSUE

Business & Industry

Corporate Report

Automobiles

Corporate Report

Education

Milestones

Social Responsibility

Healthcare

Goodyear India partners Americares India Foundation

Published on Feb. 2, 2021, 9:21 p.m.

The partnership will support COVID-19 healthcare facilities in Faridabad and Aurangabad

Environment

Tata Motors launches a 'Go Green' initiative

Published on Dec. 23, 2020, 10:34 a.m.

The company will plant a sapling for the sale of every new commercial vehicle

Women Empowerment

Tata Starbucks ties up with Educate Girls to empower women

Published on Dec. 2, 2020, 3:10 p.m.

The partnership aims to provide volunteering and educational support to those who have relocated to urban cities from villages

Environment

Indian Oil has a social initiative for a clean and green world

Published on Nov. 25, 2020, 2:53 a.m.

The public sector company is planting a tree for every retail customer visit during its TreeCheers campaign period

Climate Change

E-vehicles

Ola creates history

Published on Sept. 22, 2021, 3:38 p.m.

The company sells electric two-wheelers worth Rs1,100 crore in two days

Sustainability

Mastercard’s masterstroke for sustainability

Published on Sept. 22, 2021, 3:20 p.m.

Mastercard launches Sustainability Innovation Lab

Government and Policy

Kerry launches Indo-US Clean Energy Partnership

Published on Sept. 14, 2021, 8:31 p.m.

US senator introduces Bill to boost bilateral cooperation

Renewable Energy

Let a thousand Solar Parks bloom!

Published on Sept. 14, 2021, 11:08 a.m.

TN Energy Minister V Senthilbalaji says the state will have Solar Parks in every district

Stay ahead of the times.
Register with The Climate Change Weekly for free!