New Delhi: Steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal has said he is disappointed over delays in securing regulatory approval for his proposed Rs1 trillion steel project in India.
“Clearly these are disappointments ...we don’t like this kind of situation where we are stuck with the approvals. In our steel businesses we are still awaiting some of the approvals, land approvals, eco (environment) approvals, and mining licence; clearly this has delayed the progress by at least two years,” the chairman and chief executive officer of ArcelorMittal said.
Stuck: ArcelorMittal’s CEO and chairman Lakshmi Mittal. Madhu Kapparath / Mint
However, Mittal expressed hopes that the 100-day agenda of the new government would help in accelerating the pace of such approvals.
“We hope that now these things would get accelerated because the prime minister has (set) 100 days’ target for everyone. I am sure these will reflect the processes in states,” he said.
ArcelorMittal, who is bullish on its India plans, is working on modalities to set up a 12-million-tonne-per-annum steel mill each in Jharkhand and Orissa, where the company is awaiting regulatory approvals.
The company has started educating local people about the proposed land acquisition for setting up the plants and the benefits of the mills to them.
When asked what the reasons could be for the delay in granting approval, Mittal pointed out during an interview with private news channel CNBC-TV18 that it is also the democratic process of selecting applicants, where about “95% (of applications) are not worth considering”.
Mittal, however, said the “consolidation” in the industry, which followed the ArcelorMittal merger, has hedged the sector from an even worse scenario. “... If there were no other mergers and acquisitions which followed (ours), I think the steel industry would have been in a much worse shape than (now),” he said.