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Jul 01, 2012 at 02:57pm IST

Stop maligning India, steel minister tells LN Mittal

New Delhi: Steel minister Beni Prasad Verma on Sunday said NRI billionaire LN Mittal should stop "maligning" India and its government, asking why the steel baron was not setting up his plants in the country.

"He should stop maligning India and the Indian government. Why is he not beginning work on his projects," Verma said.

Mittal, chairman and CEO of world's largest steel company, ArcelorMittal, had said in New York on June 19 "Industrialisation is an important part of every major economy's development and by risking progress... India is potentially condemning hundreds of millions to remain in poverty longer than previously anticipated".

Stop maligning India, steel minister tells LN Mittal

Beni Prasad Verma said the central government would extend cooperation if ArcelorMittal wants to go ahead with its India plans.

When asked about the problems being faced by ArcelorMittal with regard to land acquisition in Jharkhand and Orissa, the steel minister said, it is a state issue. "In any case, Mittal never contacted me," he remarked.

He said the central government would extend cooperation if ArcelorMittal wants to go ahead with its India plans.

Verma said South Korean steel major Posco is now making progress in its $12 billion projects to set up 12 million tonne steel plant in Orissa.

"Those who want to go ahead, they like Posco are making progress," the minister said.

ArcelorMittal is waiting for six years to implement its $30 billion projects mostly in Orissa and Jharkhand states.

Mittal had recently also stated that it may take his company another five to 10 years to start India projects.

"We continue to experience difficulties in India. My belief is that the Indian projects may not see the light for five to 10 years," he had said in May.

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