New Delhi: A Rs. 3,650 crore paper mill project, proposed to be set up in Jagdishpur in Rahul Gandhi's constituency Amethi, may be shifted to Ratnagiri in Maharashtra, the home state of Union Heavy Industry Minister Anant Geete, if a move in this regard is cleared by the government.
“We are working in this direction. They (UPA Government) had decided (to set up the mill in Amethi) in 2007 but due to non-availability of land, nothing had moved in this direction,” Geete said.
Again ahead of the Lok Sabha polls last year, the UPA Cabinet gave a fresh push to the project.“We are making efforts to set up the mill in Ratnagiri as land is available there. Plus, it has ample bamboo cultivation, highway, port, railway connectivity is there. We will have to approach the Cabinet again for approval to transfer the project to Ratnagiri,” he said.
If the paper mill project is shifted, then for Amethi it would be the second project that would not see the light of the day.
Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi had earlier during the year raised in Parliament the issue of a Rs.200 crore mega food park in Amethi being axed, and accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of practising politics of revenge.
However the government had rejected the charge saying the food park was cancelled as the promoter company had expressed its inability to pursue the project in the absence of natural gas, whose allocation it claimed was denied by the Congress-led UPA government in December 2012.
Asked about political motives being attached to the move on the paper mill, Geete said: “There is no political motive attached to this move. We have no enmity with Rahul Gandhi. If land was available in Jagdishpur, we would have set up the mill there”.
In February last year, the Union Cabinet had approved setting up of Jagdishpur Paper Mills Limited (JPML), a green field pulp and paper project at Jagdishpur, District Amethi, Uttar Pradesh at a cost of Rs 3,650 crore. The project was supposed to be implemented in two phases.
Apart from direct employment to 900 persons, the mill was expected to provide indirect employment and spur gainful economic activities in Amethi's vicinity.