Economic Times reported that Vedanta Resources Chairman Mr Anil Agarwal announced the company’s plan to inject INR 15:000 crore to raise the alumina refinery capacity at Lanjigarh three-fold to six mtpa and firm up downstream sector in Odisha in three years. The expansion of the Lanjigarh plant in phases would increase the capacity of the refinery from the existing two million tonnes per annum to four million tonnes per annum and then to six million tonnes per annum in the next three years. Mr Anil Agarwal, who is also the founder of the company addressing the Make in Odisha Conclave said that „Vedanta has already invested over INR 50,000 crore in Odisha projects. Fresh investment of INR 15, 000 crore will be made in the next three years for expansion of Lanjigarh refinery and strengthening of downstream sector.”

He said that Vedanta’s aluminium park at Jharsuguda, where its smelter unit is located, is progressing well and around 25 downstream industries have come up and over 100 such units are likely to be set up in the complex spread over an area of 250 acres.

Mr Agarwal, however, voiced concern over scarce availability of raw materials like coal and bauxite in the state. He said government companies get 100 per cent coal, while private entities are given only 25 per cent supply which makes it tough for them to run in a viable manner.

He added that „It is the responsibility of all to ensure that coal produced in the state is made available to local industries.”

Stating that half of the coal produced in Odisha moves out of the state, the Vedanta chairman said the whole mechanism is „discriminatory“ and an increase of even 10 per cent in coal share would be of immense help to the private sector in which over five lakh employees are involved.

About bauxite. Mr Agarwal said only about one per cent of the mineral’s reserves in Odisha have been explored and it is essential to open more bauxite blocks to ensure expansion of the aluminium sector in the state.

Vedanta, he said, has been given a small bauxite mine at Kodingamali and like oil blocks, more of them should be put to auction for growth of aluminium units.