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Tata official in talks to revive Bangla investment plans news
Our Corporate Bureau
14 March 2007

Mumbai: The Tata Group has renewed its efforts to put its proposed $3-billion investment projects in Bangladesh back on track. Tata Group's resident director Manzer Hossain met the communications adviser M A Matin to gauge the mind of the caretaker government regarding its proposal. He also discussed the latest developments related to the Indian conglomerate's proposed investments in the country.

"We are yet to get any indication regarding resumption of talks" on the investment proposals, media reports quoted Manzer as saying.

The adviser is reported to have suggested that the issue be taken up with the relevant ministry.

"The industries ministry is the proper authority to deal with such projects while the government's investment promotion agency, Board of Investment, is the custodian of the review report on Tata's investment proposal," Matin said.

Tata Group had expressed interest in investing in three main projects - a steel unit, a power plant and a fertiliser factory - in Bangladesh in 2003 and offered its final revised proposal in April 2006.

The proposal grew last year into a $3-billion investment plan - more foreign money than has been invested in impoverished Bangladesh since its first full year as a country in 1972 - but talks stalled over a failure to agree over the price of natural gas, and country's descent into pre-election political confusion and violence.

Tata wants to set up a steel plant with annual production capacity of 2.4-million tonnes, a urea factory with 1-million tonnes capacity, a 500 MW coal-fired power station and a 1,000 MW gas-fired power plant.

Tata will require 200-million cubic feet of gas per day (mmcfd), Manzer said. Tata also plans to set up two hospitals and two training centres for employees in Bangladesh as part of its welfare programme, he added.

However, the government led by Khaleda Zia's Bangladesh Nationalist Party had postponed its decision on the proposal, leaving it to a popular government after the parliamentary elections to take a final decision. Tata had since stopped work on the project.

The interim government is charged with holding free and fair elections as soon as possible but it has yet to announce a date. An election earlier planned for January 22 was postponed following countrywide political violence that killed 45 people and injured hundreds. Bangladesh has been under a state of emergency since January 11.

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Tata official in talks to revive Bangla investment plans