Land acquisition is going smoothly enough for two mega-steel projects in Karnataka - the Rs32,000-crore ArcelorMittal integrated steel project and the Posco integrated steel project estimated to cost a similar Rs32,000 crore, according to the state's minister for heavy and medium industries Murgesh R Nirani.
For the ArcelorMittal project, the state government is on track to acquire about half of the 4,000 acres needed for the 6 million tonne plant. Nirani said the state will protect the interests of farmers who agree to give their land, and may even increase the compensation amount if required.
Nirani said ArcelorMittal had deposited about Rs700 crore with the government towards land acquisition in the iron-ore rich Bellary district of north Karnataka, where it is setting up the plant.
The compensation was divided into three slabs for the farmers who gave away land. Those farmers whose land was in the interior got about Rs8 lakh an acre, those whose land was closer to the highway received about Rs12 lakh, and those whose land was adjoining the highway received about Rs16 lakh. The minister said a total of 1,600 farmers were identified for acquisition of land.
Nirani said for the South Korean Posco which is setting up its plant in Gadag district, preliminary hearing for acquisition of 3,382 acres will take place within six months.
''Most of the farmers whose land has been identified for acquisition are keen (to give away land) because of the benefits they will receive,'' Nirani said.