KT Rama Rao meets PM Modi over ITIR, Bayyaram steel plant

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Hyderabad: Telangana’s Industry and IT minister K.T. Rama Rao has reiterated that the state government will build the Bayyaram steel plant on its own if the Centre doesn’t show any interest.

The Bayyaram steel plant will provide employment to over 15,000 tribals and the state government will offer all the incentives and sops for the plant, said Mr Rama Rao in his briefing to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Wednesday.

He also urged the Prime Minister to reconsider the pending ITIR (Information Technology Investment Region) project. These two are prominent among 10 proposals we mentioned in the memorandum to the Prime Minister, Mr Rama Rao said. The taskforce set up by the TS government on the Bayyaram steel plant will submit its report next month.

Mr Rama Rao submitted feasibility reports on the Bayyaram steel plant and ITIR project as the Prime Minister had sought more information during his meeting with Telangana CM Chandrasekhar Rao on June 15.

“Under section 93 of AP Reorganisation Act-2014, we have requested the Prime Mini-ster to implement the assurances given to the newly formed state. We told Mr Modi that the TS government will co-ntribute half of the cost for the railway line for the Bayyaram steel plant from Bailadila in Chhattisgarh and a slurry pipeline. In addition to this, we are open to investing in the Bayyaram steel plant through Singareni Collieries if SAIL doesn’t want to invest fully,” he said.

“We have also made it clear to the PM that the Telangana government has alternative plans for the Bayyar-am plant if the Centre doesn’t consider it,” Mr Rama Rao told the media after meeting Mr Modi. Mr Rama Rao further said that Bailadila is just 120 km away from Bayyaram and iron ore can be sourced from that mine.

Giving an example from Vizag Steel Plant, Mr Rao said that it is sourcing iron ore from mines within a distance of 600km. “We have a captive mine at Bayyaram. If ferrous content is not sufficient, we can get iron ore from Bailadila. It’s not a big deal to lay a railway line and slurry pipeline to move the ore. The project will generate employment for 15,000 tribals in the region,” said Mr Rao.

The Telangana government has already allocated Rs 2 crore for a feasibility study of the railway line from Bailadila to Bayyaram. “Coal deposits are available aplenty in the state. Required coking grade coal can also be imported from the nearest port and dry port. We can ensure the availability of land, water, power and trained manpower for the steel plant. Preliminary surveys by NMDC and MECON have been completed. Now, the Centre has to take the final decision,” Mr Rao said.

Coming to the ITIR project proposed by the UPA government during its second term, Mr Rao said that if the Centre okays it, “we can speed up the IT development further”.

The then UPA government in 2013 approved the ITIR project to be implemented at three places – Gachibowli-Madhapur, Adibatla-Maheshwaram, and Uppal-Pocharam. The state government sought financial assistance of Rs 4,863 cr, including Rs 942 under Phase-1 and Rs 3921cr under Phase-2, for creating infrastructure over 202 sq km.

Telangana’s IT exports totalled Rs 93,442 cr in 2017-18, showing a 9.3 per cent growth, which was higher than the national average of eight per cent. “Telangana accounts for 11 per cent of India’s IT and software exports and ranks second in the country. Considering this, I explained to Mr Modi that the ITIR project will further speed up IT growth,” said Mr Rao.