Sunday, October 31, 2010

Thought of the day - 1st November 2010

Nature’s most advance and latest creation are the humans so much so that it has left its own fate to us.  Devoting all our time and energy in building an empire for self will waste this most amazing creation of nature. ..

Ranjan Panda
On birthday – 2010

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Ahluwalia's sermons

Inflation and the poor
Ahluwalia’s sermons
Devinder Sharma , October 27

Obsessed with the growth figures, the planners have tried but failed to hide the ugly underbelly of India’s economic growth.

Montek Singh Ahluwalia has been at the helm of India’s planning process for quite some time now. It is during his tenure as the deputy chairman of the Planning Commission that India has been pushed deeper and deeper into the quagmire of poverty. With the largest population of hungry in the world, the Global Hunger Index 2010 has placed India in the pit.

I wasn’t therefore shocked when I read Ahluwalia blame the hungry for the rise in food inflation. From someone who literally lives in the ivory tower of the Yojana Bhawan, anything can be expected. But what, of course, surprised me was the audacity with which he blamed the poor and hungry in the rural countryside for the rising inflation. Although I hate to say but there can be nothing more stupid than blaming the poor in the villages as if they have started eating more and therefore the pressure on food prices. 

A few years back, former US President George Bush had made that ignominious remark shifting the blame for the 2007 global food crisis to the hungry Indians. He had said that the food crisis was because the Indians had started eating more. In an interview, I had then replied that if Indians started eating as much as the Americans do, then probably the world would need to grow food crops on the moon.

While one can ignore what George Bush had said, how can one pardon the head of India’s planning process who should know much better. It also reflects on the disconnect India’s Planning Commission has with the existing ground realities. Obsessed with the growth figures that continue to be tossed around with much fanfare, the planners have tried but failed to hide the ugly underbelly of India’s economic growth.

Only a few weeks back, India was ranked 67th among 84 hungry countries of the world. Two years back, in 2008, the Global Hunger Index had placed India at 66th position among 88 countries. In other words, India had slipped still lower down the pit in the past two years. I can’t fathom how the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) had placed India in such a low esteem if the poor in the villages had started eating more.

Take another international report that was submitted by the Save the Children Fund just a few days prior to the UN Summit on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that was held in the last week of September in New York. With over 5,000 children succumbing to malnutrition every day, India had once again topped the global ranking. This shocking disclosure is enough to put every Indian to shame. I wonder how the head of Indian Planning Commission can even walk with his head held high.
Let me also draw your attention to the 2006-07 report of the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) which brings out the stark truth. It tells us that the correlation between hunger and economic growth is robustly positive -- more the economic growth, more people go to bed hungry. This challenges the widely held view that economic growth pulls poor out of poverty and hunger.

What makes the alarming situation still worse is that ever since economic liberalisation was launched in 1991, the NSSO tells us that cereal consumption has been on a steady decline, with no corresponding increase in the intake of more nutritious eggs, vegetables, fruits and milk. It means hunger has been on a rise and is now more widespread and well-entrenched. So far the feeling was that with the changing food habits, people have shifted from cereals to nutritious foods like fruits, vegetables and milk. This assumption too does not hold true anymore.

Cereal consumption 

The decline in cereal consumption has more or less followed a steady pattern in the rural and urban areas, and of course, much faster in the rural areas. I don’t think Ahluwalia ever read this report. Accordingly, per capita cereal consumption per month in the rural areas across the country has fallen from 13.4 kg in 1993-94 to 11.7 kg in 2006-07.

The decline has been sharper between the period 2004 and 2007 when just in three years, cereals consumption fell from 12.1 kg to 11.7 kg. In the urban centres the decline was from 10.6 kg in 1993-94 to 9.6 kg in 2006-07. In a largely vegetarian society, cereals constitute the single important source of nutrition and therefore its importance in the Indian context is well established.

This is still not the real picture. The NSSO survey does not cover the period 2007-08 when the world was faced with an unprecedented rise on global food prices. In any case, the average household expenditure on food shows an increasing trend, but does not translate into more food consumption. It only means food prices have been on an upswing, and the poor are finding it difficult to fill their bellies. The recent price rise had made it still more difficult for the poor to be well fed. Cereal consumption therefore is expected to fall still further in 2009-10, and the impact it must have had on the poor and hungry can be well imagined.

Forest laws openly violated by big companies in Orissa: WSO

Forest laws openly violated by big companies in Orissa: WSO

Bhubaneswar, Oct 26 : Wildlife Society of Orissa Secretary Biswajit Mohanty today alleged that forest laws were being openly violated in the state by large companies.
Mr Mohanty said several central enquiry teams have already exposed the Orissa government's shady acts of omission and commission in allowing diversion of forest land without following the process of law. 

Forest laws are being routinely violated in the state by large companies with officers actively conniving with them and often turning a blind eye to their illegal activities. 

Mr Mohanty said after violation of forest and environment laws by the Vedanta and POSCO another multi-crore scam involving 168.232 hectares of forest land in Angul District has surfaced.

The WSO secretary, who obtained the information through RTI Act, said suppression of vital information by senior forest officers who failed to report to the Ministry of Environment and Forests the violation of Forest (Conservation) Act,1980 (FC Act) by a large corporate has led to the forest clearance of a huge steel plant worth Rs 10,000 crores.

Mr Mohanty further alleged that several mega projects, involving diversion of hundreds of hectares of forest land have obtained forest clearance in Orissa breaking the law. 

The state forest officials have allegedly connived with such companies and played facilitators instead of being regulators.

Mr Mohanty further alleged that several mega projects, involving diversion of hundreds of hectares of forest land, have obtained forest clearance in Orissa by breaking the law. The state forest officials have allegedly connived with such companies and played facilitators instead of being regulators. Citing one instance, Mr Mohanty alleged that the M/s Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) setting up an integrated steel plant of 6 MTPA capacity and a captive power plant of 1,000 MW at Badkerjang in Angul district was directed not to start any construction work before the forest clearance. 

Out of total 2160.385 hectares land required for the project, about 168.232 hectares covered as forestland has been obtainedEnvironment Clearance in February 2007.

The forest diversion proposal was forwarded to MoEF on August 4, 2008.

However, during the pendency of the application, the company violated the provisions of Forest Conservation Act 1980 which was detected by the local DFO. 

In his show cause notice on October 6,2009, the then DFO, Angul Forest Division pointed out violation of F.C Act,1980 as work had started on non-forest land prior to clearance. The user agency was directed to stop all work.

The WSO secretary further said shockingly, the State Pollution Control Board also ignored the advice of the DFO for further punitive action against the company.The Pollution Control Board failed to inform the MoEF which would have resulted in cancellation of the Environment Clearance.

Mr Mohanty further said the suppression of the violations enabled the company to obtain Stage I forest clearance on March 30, 2010 adding that the forest clearance was illegally obtained as vital material fact and developments subsequent to the filing of the diversion application were suppressed. 

The Steel and Mines Department also chose to remain tight lipped and concealed this fact from the regulatory agencies which shows their involvement,the WSO Secretary said and urged the MoEF to take suitable action under the law. 

He demanded that the Stage I forest clearance should be withdrawn as it was obtained by suppressing material information about violation of Forest Conservation Act, 1980.

The Environmental Clearance should be cancelled as condition no.

A (xvi) expressly prohibits construction activity without clearance under the Forest Conservation Act,1980 has been violated by the Company.

The officers of the forest department and pollution control board who have connived in suppressing the violation information should be penalized as per law by MoEF, Mr Mohanty demanded.

Forest laws openly violated by big companies in Orissa: WSO - World News, 71209

Forest laws openly violated by big companies in Orissa: WSO - World News, 71209

Friday, October 29, 2010

Approach to a new national water policy.

Dear All,

We at Water Initiatives Orissa (WIO) have been participating at different levels of discussions on the review of the National Water Policy 2002.  We have also been trying to share important information/news/reports on this.  This mail comes with a latest opinion piece of veteran water expert Ramaswami Iyer published in the Hindu.  Hope you will find this useful and we can pursue his arguments at appropriate levels.
Thanks and regards,

Ranjan K Panda
Convenor, WIO

Water Initiatives Orissa: Fighting water woes, combating climate change... more than two decades now !

Approach to a new national water policy


In place of the current slogan of Integrated Water Resource Management, we should look at Responsible, Harmonious, Just and Wise Use of Water.

The Union Ministry of Water Resources has undertaken a review and revision of the National Water Policy (NWP) 2002. The present article is intended as a contribution to that process. It will not offer a detailed critique of the Ministry's discussion paper, but will outline an approach for its consideration.


Ideally, a review at this stage should take climate change into account, but while we know that climate change may mean increased precipitation in some areas, increased drought in some others, and increased variability of precipitation, we do not yet know in detail precisely what will happen, when and where. Studies on these matters are still going on. A policy response will have to wait for some reasonably definitive findings on them.

However, an overhaul of the NWP is necessary even without reference to the issue of climate change. The reason for saying so is that there has been a gross mismanagement of water, as evidenced by the following selective list:

• intermittent, unreliable, unsafe and inequitable water supply in urban areas;
• rivers turned into sewers or poison, and aquifers contaminated;
• intractable water-related conflicts between uses, sectors, areas, States;
• major and medium irrigation systems in disarray, rendering poor and unreliable service, and characterised by inequities of various kinds;
• alarming depletion of aquifers in many parts of the country;
• inefficiency and waste in every kind of water-use;
• the environmental/ecological impacts of big water-resource projects, poor EIAs, the displacement of people by such projects and the general failure to resettle and rehabilitate project-affected persons; and so on.
The need for a radical reform of water policy is evident.


If so, the kind of transformation that is needed will not be achieved by incremental changes in the NWP 2002. If we start from NWP 2002, our thinking will quickly fall into well-worn grooves, and getting out of them will be difficult. It is necessary to put aside the NWP 2002, and start from scratch.


Such an exercise will involve many reversals of past approaches. For instance, reversing the usual approach of projecting a future demand and bringing about a supply-side response to meet that demand, we must start from the fact that the availability of fresh water in nature is finite, and learn to manage our water needs within that availability. This will mean a stringent restraint on the growth of ‘demand' for water (other than basic needs) which will be difficult and will involve painful adjustments; but the effort is inescapable.
A second reversal will have to be on the supply side. Primacy will have to shift from large, centralised, capital-intensive ‘water resource development' (WRD) projects with big dams and reservoirs and canal systems, to small, decentralised, local, community-led, water-harvesting and watershed-development programmes, with the big projects being regarded as projects of the last resort; and the exploitation of groundwater will have to be severely restrained in the interest of resource-conservation as well as equity.
A third reversal will have to be in relation to rivers, from massive interventions in flows and maximal abstraction of waters to letting the rivers flow and keeping interventions to the minimum. Instead of killing rivers and then trying to revive them, we must learn to keep rivers alive, flowing and healthy. A fourth reversal will have to be in the relative roles of the state and the community (from ‘eminent domain' or sovereign powers of the state to the state as trustee holding natural resources in public trust for the community). There may have to be other reversals. The intention is not to discuss these matters in detail but to indicate the kind of changes that will be needed.


The changes cannot be piecemeal and fragmented. They need to be integral parts of a holistic vision. One difficulty in this regard is the multiplicity of perspectives on water that need to be taken into account. For instance, consider the following:
• the rights perspective, focussing on the fundamental or human right to water, traditional rights of access of communities (tribal or other) to rivers, lakes, forests, and other sources of sustenance and livelihoods, and so on;
• the social justice/ equity perspective, concerned with issues of inequity in urban and rural water and sanitation services, injustices to the poor and to the Scheduled Castes or Tribes, forced displacement by major projects and deficiencies or failures in resettlement /rehabilitation, inequities in access to irrigation water in the command areas of projects, etc;
• the women's perspective stressing the burden on women of fetching water from long distances as well as managing water in the home, with no voice in water-planning or water-management institutions;
• the community perspective urging the right relationship between state and civil society, the empowerment of people vis-à-vis the state (or the corporates), the community management of common pool resources, mobilisation of people for local water augmentation and management, social control of water use and sanctions against misuse, voice in water policy formulation and water management, etc;
• the state perspective, concerned with legislation, policy formulation, planning, administration, ‘governance' at all three levels, ensuring/enforcing rights, providing or facilitating or regulating water supply and sanitation services, preventing or resolving or adjudicating inter-state/inter-sector/inter-use/inter-area water disputes, prescribing and enforcing quality standards, managing water relations with other countries, ensuring compliance with international law, and so on;
• the engineering perspective (which needs no explanation);
• the water quality perspective concerned with the enforcement of water quality standards, and the prevention and control of pollution and contamination of water;
• the citizen/ water-user perspectives tending to assert requirements for various uses (drinking, domestic, commercial, industrial, agricultural, etc) quite strongly, but showing poor recognition of the obligations of economical and efficient use, avoidance of waste and conflict, conservation of the resource, and protection of the environment;
• the economic perspective that sees water as economic good subject to market forces, and argues for water markets, the full economic pricing of water, the privatisation of water services, private sector participation in water resource projects, etc;
• the ‘growth' perspective focussing on economic growth at a certain desired rate, and tending to be impatient with social, community, rights, equity, environmental or other perspectives;
• the business perspective, concerned with a supply response to demand, the objective being profits, professing ‘corporate social responsibility' but tending to subordinate it to the imperative of profits;
• the legal perspective, which is not really a separate perspective, as legal issues arise in all perspectives; but specifically concerned among other things with the constitutional division of legislative powers, Centre-State and inter-State relations on water, inter-State river-water disputes, riparian law, international water law, questions of ownership and/or control of water, etc. (all these being not merely legal but also socio-political questions); and
• the environmental/ecological perspective, concerned with the protection of the environmental/ecological system from the impacts of ‘developmental' activity, and the prescription/monitoring of remedial measures.
The foregoing enumeration of perspectives will immediately show that a multiplicity of disciplines is involved. The formulation of a national water policy must necessarily be an inter-disciplinary exercise.


If these perspectives are to be integrated and harmonised into a coherent whole, some will have to be regarded as the overarching, governing perspectives, and all others subsumed under them. In the author's view, the ecological and social justice perspectives will have to be the overarching perspectives, and all other perspectives subordinated to them. In particular, engineering and economics, which have so far been the dominant disciplines, must be firmly kept under check by ecology and by the idea of social justice.


Keeping in mind Gandhiji's firm conviction that rights flow from responsibilities, we can consider combining the ecological and social justice perspectives into a moral responsibility perspective or, in other words, an ethical or dharma perspective. Let us think in terms of our responsibility or dharma in relation to:
• the poor, deprived, disadvantaged, or disempowered;
• other humans sharing the resource with us, including those in our State or other States, our country or other countries, our generation or future generations;
• other species or forms of life;
• rivers, lakes, aquifers, forests, nature in general, Planet Earth itself.
That is the overarching perspective that this writer would like to propose. In place of the current slogan of Integrated Water Resource Management or IWRM about which he has strong reservations, he would like to offer the alternative formulation of Responsible, Harmonious, Just and Wise Use of Water.
Alas, RHJWUW is not a catchy term like IWRM. The latter term has come to stay, but it should really be understood to mean the former.

Thought of the day - 30th October 2010

Defining choices in life should be done the way we chose our shoes. Going for the ones that don’t suit the size of our feet makes those useless…

Ranjan Panda

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Thought of the day - 29th October 2010

The reflection of you in the mirror is a made up image. Go look straight at the sea, the trees and the rivers and then ask yourself if you have done justice to your origin of being; and then you will know how smart you are...

Ranjan Panda

Change the flow of water policy.

Dear All,

In today's pick I am posting the following comment published in the Economic Times of 19th October as it is still relevant. 

Thanks and regards,

Ranjan Panda

Change the flow of water policy
19 OCT, 2010, 02.50AM IST,ET BUREAU
The government enunciated its first National Water Policy in 1987. A revised version was enunciated in 2002. Yet another revision is underway, for which view have been sought. Here are some bold suggestions. 

First, the new policy should be written for implementation. That cannot be said about water policies of 1987 and 2002. Both are litanies of platitudes, and have remained paper policies. Little of what these said has been implemented. A good policy statement should (i) be realistic, (ii) clearly specify what will be done differently from the past, and (iii) contain an implementation pathway. The earlier water policies had none of these. They are statements of vision, not policy. As South Africa did in the early 1990s, a shared vision should be set out in a white paper. But the policy should clearly state how business as usual will change. 

Second, water policy cannot speak just for the Union ministry of water resources. It must speak also for other strategic water sector players. For instance, it must include the concerns of electricity utilities that power irrigation pumps. After all, these pumps irrigate more land today than all government irrigation systems. Likewise, it must integrate mega-programmes such as MGNREGA that invest more in improving rural water security than large dams and canals. 

Third, water is a state subject. The central government’s water policy has little traction without buy-in from the states. To be realistic, the new water policy needs to focus on influencing state governments’ actions and policies through (i) central support to state water projects through programmes like Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programmes (AIBP) and JNNURM, (ii) the central government’s role in mediating water investments of multilateral institutions such as the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank , 
(iii) the environmental assessment and clearance regime, and (iv) the role the Centre can play in managing trans-boundary inter-state and international waters. The water policy also needs to expand its repertoire of instruments to influence state’s water policies. 

Fourth, policy needs to be realistic about the practicality of direct water demand-management instruments. Imposing groundwater cess and reshaping property rights regimes is easier said than done. The states have made several water laws but their enforcement has been impossible. Volumetric water pricing has been talked about; but implementation is a far cry. 

This is not surprising. India’s water economy is predominantly informal, with 90% users self-providing for their needs directly from aquifers, rivers and ponds. Experience worldwide suggests that it is easier to regulate large institutional users — corporates, municipalities, etc — than millions of small and dispersed users. Direct demand management will become effective when, over a 30-50 year period, this informal water economy morphs into a ‘water industry’. 

Fifth, integrated water resources management in our context implies factoring into our policy calculus the momentous implications of water infrastructure for land, power and carbon footprint. The British began building large irrigation systems when land went abegging and population pressure was low. Today, when land acquisition is a contested issue in the country’s development, we need to recognise that irrigation dams and canals are inefficient use of land, more so because they do their job so poorly. 

Take the case of Gujarat. Between 1961 and 2004, Gujarat government acquired 19.21 lakh hectares to create irrigation potential of 30.59 lakh hectares. In reality, Gujarat today has just 6.8 lakh hectares under canal irrigation, a fifth of the promised potential. The state has removed three hectares from productive uses to make one hectare more productive. Gujarat’s Sardar Sarovar Project irrigates less than 10% of its planned command because farmers are unwilling to part with the land for constructing distribution system. Clearly, the way forward is to license farmers, cooperatives and other irrigation service providers to invest in underground piped distribution systems that save land and provide pressurised irrigation-on-demand. 

Sixth, policy must also address growing energy intensity and carbon footprint of irrigation: Indian farmers use 75-85 billion kWh per year of electricity and some 3.5-4 billion litres of diesel in pumping groundwater. Deep tubewells in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Malwa, Punjab and western Uttar Pradesh are great power guzzlers. Using surface water storage to reduce energy intensity of deep tubewell irrigation can be more beneficial than the irrigation value of that water. 

Seventh, groundwater depletion has increased carbon footprint of Indian irrigation. Groundwater irrigation accounts for 4-6% of the country’s carbon emissions. A decline of 1 m in groundwater level raises carbon emissions from pumping by 4-6%. Moreover, 1% increase in groundwater irrigated area raises emissions by 2.2%. Allocating a portion of reservoir storage to large managed aquifer recharge in deep groundwater areas can reduce power subsidies and generate carbon credits. 

Finally, we must address persistently-poor performance of irrigation systems before we throw more good money after bad in dams and canals. Since 1991, we have invested over Rs 1,50,000 crore in public irrigation with little rise in the area benefited. We need to shift focus from construction work, which is lucrative, to improving system management, which is hard work. The new water policy will make a quantum leap if it puts into place an effective performance management system for public water infrastructure. The first step, naturally, is establishing a real-time management information system as the foundation of a programme for reforming management of public water systems.

Steel Minister is POSCO Ambassador?

Dear All,

Believe the Union Steel Minister and a corporate can violate environmental laws of the nation if the Prime Minister of the nation supports it.  See the following news and you would not take seconds to know what makes this minister an ambassador of POSCO.  Its the 51,000 crore mega investment, the largest FDI in the country.  

To justify the project the Minister does not refrain from questioning the credibility and professional capabilities of the Meena Gupta headed committee members who have been appointed by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, in public and after the reports have been submitted!

This comes a day after India's Coal Minister wanted forests to be given away for coal mining which would fuel POSCO type growth models.   In a normal sense one would believe that these Ministers are just working in all sincerity for promotion their respective ministries' agenda, the reality is different.  In a normal circumstance a Minister would not come in pubic against another Minister.  This is therefore a clear cut indication of accelerated corporate game plan at Delhi post Niyamgiri verdict of MoEF.  

Obviously MoEF is under pressure but it all depends on how the Prime Minister of India will react.  The Steel Minister has made him a party in justifying his open support for POSCO.  And we are all eagerly waiting to see what is the real meaning of 'Aam Admi' for the Congress Party - 'Common Man' or 'POSCO'.  

Thanks and regards,

Ranjan Panda

Virbhadra asks Jairam to be realistic on Posco
October 28, 2010   12:26:45 PM

PNS | Bhubaneswar

The fate of Rs 51,000 crore mega steel project Posco on Wednesday received a positive approach as Union Steel Minister Virbhadra Singh asked Union Minister of State for Environment and Forest Jairam Ramesh to be realistic while considering approvals for the South Koean project at Paradip in Jagatsinghpur district. Singh's approach comes as a relief for the State Government which desperately wants not to give away the biggest project.

Sources said, the Union Steel Minister opined that the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) should be practical and should refrain from dogmatic views while considering approvals the biggest foreign direct investment project in the country. Singh is stated to have consented that MoEF should think over time and again before giving negative decision on the project. He also flayed Ramesh for constituting Meena Gupta Committee which investigated issues related to violation of Forest Rights Act and Environment Protection Act in the proposed site at Paradip in Jagatsinghpur district.

"While Prime Minister has provided supports the 12 million tonne capacity steel project, what was the need of sending an investigating team to the site," Singh is stated to have asked Jairam.

Singh also alleged that the recommendation of three members of the Meena Gupta panel was not appropriate as the faction has gone beyond their professional capabilities. He daid the two of the three members are experts in the field of environment and the one member was a member of previous NC Saxena Committee. How can their recommendations would be fair beyond their professional capabilities, the Union Minister observed. After two separate recommendations submitted by the Meena Gupta Committee before the MoEF, Forest Advisory Committee meeting was held on October 25 and as per the latter's request, the MoEF has asked the Union Tribal Welfare Ministry to give a report whether traditional tribal people were inhabiting in the proposed site.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Thought of the day - 28 October 2010

End is certain but the nature of it is not.  To save us from wasting time in measuring the distance to and forms of end, once in a while we should reflect upon the way we evolved as a being…

Ranjan Panda

Transparent killers?

Dear All,

Industries have the culture of fooling people with regard to their sizes at entry.  You declare it to be a small plant, take necessary environmental clearances and once you are established, expand as you wish.  This has been an undeclared strategy so far.  If you read the news below, you would be sure that ArcelorMittal wants to break this hypocritical history.  Rather, it intends to declare this plan in advance. 

So, has the new generation industrialisation arrived to India? May be yes and we can call them the new generation transparent killers in so far as damaging the environment and destroying the ecologically sustainable livelihoods are concerned.

And yeah, may be we should celebrate the fact that the industries have at least started to disclose their real intentions!!

Cheers !!

Ranjan K Panda

26 OCT, 2010, 01.36PM IST,PTI 

As new India strategy, ArcelorMittal to build smaller plants

Dear All,

NEW DELHI: As part of a new strategy for India, ArcelorMittal today said it will build, to begin with, smaller steel plants in states of Jharkhand, Orissa and Karnataka instead of mega units as proposed earlier. 

The company, however, maintained that it is committed to expanding the capacities of the steel plants later on as stated in pacts with the respective state governments.

"The idea is to set up small steel facilities instead of (big) steel plants so that we have more footprints and we can execute faster some of these ideas," ArcelorMittal CFO Aditya Mittal told PTI in a conference call, after announcing the company's third quarter financial results. 

He added, however, "...At this point of time, we have not yet announced or decided the size of the plants...the first phase size is yet to be decided." 

The world's largest steel producer had earlier proposed to set up Rs 1 lakh crore steel plants with annual production capacity of 12 million tonnes each in Jharkhand and Orissa, and a six million tonnes per annum unit in Karnataka at an estimated sum of Rs 30,000 crore. 

"We will start construction next year," Mittal said, adding that the plants would go on stream after the work on installation is complete. The company, however, has not decided as to which of its India plants would go off the ground first. 

"We are focusing on land acquisition as well as mining licenses (at present)," Mittal said. The company is in process of acquiring land in Karnataka and Jharkhand and is going slow with regards to the Orissa project. 

It said last week that in the first phase of the Jharkhand project, it will trim investments by almost half to about Rs 25,000 crore and build "a 6 Million Tonnes Per Annum plant in 2-3 phase development to begin with". 

However, regulatory bottlenecks and protests against land acquisition for the project stymied the mega venture. The company was also forced to move its plant location to Petarwar region in Bokaro district from earlier proposed site in Gumla and Khunti districts. 

Besides, its plans to set up a plant of similar size in Orissa have faced similar difficulties. In the wake of such hurdles in the two states, the company last year entered into a pact with domestic steel firm Uttam Galva to mark its operational presence in India. 

Also, the company has entered into a pact with Karnataka to set up a six million tonnes steel plant at an estimated investment of Rs 30,000 crore, the construction for which is expected to begin by next year. 

Going ahead with the new strategy, the company may also look at acquiring small units in India and was reportedly in talks with at least a dozen firms for the purpose.

Getting habituated to a habit.

There is a competition to live a life that takes you farther from your roots.  Our roots are inevitably ecological. Having gained the wonderful experience of knowing ecology from close corners over the last two decades, I behave like an objective chronicler of it.   This blog is meant to be a contemporary chronology of ecology, economics and we the being. The blog will have text and visuals.  

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Cell: +91-94370 50103