Home India News Birthday boy Raman Singh says Chhattisgarh to be power hub

Birthday boy Raman Singh says Chhattisgarh to be power hub


Raipur : Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh, celebrating his 57th birthday Thursday, says the state is set to become the power hub of the country in the next seven years, given the Rs.250,000-crore investment it has lined up in the sector.

“Chhattisgarh has inked deals with 61 IPPs (independent power producers) to set up thermal power plants,” the chief minister told IANS.

“We will become India’s power hub in next seven years. These plants will generate about 50,000 MW,” said Singh, who has been leading the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in the mineral-rich state since December 2003.

Chhattisgarh state came into existence in November 2000, and has been plagued by Maoist terrorists who have claimed at least 1,500 lives since 2004 to emerge as a major obstacle to industrial growth.

Corporates — with interest in the power and steel sectors — eye the state as it is home to an estimated 18-20 percent of country’s coal deposits and about 20 percent iron ore stocks. But they have been targeted by the Maoists, which has become a concern for the chief minister.

“I am striving to bring in industrialisation in poor tribal regions,” Singh, an Ayurvedic doctor by profession, said. “These areas have large stock of natural resources but people are leading a very miserable life.”

But he says he is determined to change this.

“Three integrated steel units are coming up in the Bastar region,” Singh said. “I will ensure these projects create job opportunities for local people so that their quality of life is improved significantly.”

The chief minister was referring to three mega projects being set up by Tata Steel, National Mineral Development Corp (NMDC) and Essar Steel.

First, Tata Steel is setting up a unit at Lohandiguda in Bastar district to produce 5.5 million tonnes of steel a year. According to officials, land acquisition for the project is in the final stage.

Second, NMDC is setting up a plant at Nagarnar in same district to produce three million tonnes of steel, and construction work is likely to begin by the year-end.

However, land is yet to be acquired for the third plant — for producing 3.2 million tonnes of steel annually — to be set up by Essar Steel in Dantewada district.