Jindal to return 294 acres of land to farmers: Mamata

Kolkata : West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Monday said Sajjal Jindal-jheaded JSW Bengal has decided to return 294 acres of land formerly allotted for an integrated steel, power and cement project in Salboni to farmers free of cost.

“Jindal has communicated his decision to us to return the 294 acres of land to the farmers procured for their project. We are forming a committee under the district magistrate so that the land is returned to the farmers,” she said.

Support TwoCircles

With the return of land and scrapping of the project, the company is estimated to incur at least Rs.700 crore loss as it had made considerable investment there.

JSW had bought 294 acres of land from 485 farmers paying Rs.3 lakh per acre which is nearly 275 percent higher then the then prevalent rate. Also, free shares of equivalent amount and a job guarantee for every land seller’s family was agreed upon. However, with lack of availability of raw materials impeding the project, the company decided to return the land.

Post the handover, JSW Bengal will be left with 4,268 acres government land, which has been leased to it for the Rs.35,000 crore project.

Under the present circumstances, JSW Bengal does not have either coal or iron-ore linkages for the Salboni project following the Supreme Court’s cancellation of the three coal blocks; two from the non-coking category and one from the coking category previously allotted to it.

JSW group had previously planned to implement a 600 MW power project on a public-private partnership agreement with the West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company for 300MW; but recently the state government cancelled the PPA.

However, the final blow came in from the Supreme Court’s ruling canceling its three allotted coal blocks.

JSW chairman and managing director Jindal Dec 1 said the project had been put on hold over uncertainty of raw material linkages.