CHURUMURI POLL: Will Mittal Steel get the land?

After battling dissidence and other problems for the better part of 2009, Karnataka chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa has decided to take on 2010 head-onIn Delhi this week to attend the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, Yediyurappa has announced that the world’s largest steel manufacturing group has evinced interest in the State.

“Mr Lakshmi Mittal has come forward to set up a megal steel plant in Karnataka with an investment of Rs 30,000 crore,” the CM said after meeting the chief of Mittal-Arcelor. “Another steel giant from South Korea, Posco, has also come forward to set up a mega steel plant with an investment of Rs 32,300 crore.”

Inasmuch as the amounts are staggering and the employment prospects are delicious, the truth remains that both Mittal-Arcelor and Posco are facing trouble in land acquisition and regulatory approvals in Orissa and Jharkhand where they have already announced similar mega plans.

Questions: Will Mittal-Arcelor and Posco really be able to realise their dreams in Karnataka, a state where land acquisition has always been a problem for road projects (like the Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor) and power plants (Cogentrix, etc)? Or is Yediyurappa speaking through his hat? Is he just trying to send a signal to the Reddy brothers, that he too can tango, or is he making peace with them by offering Bellary as one of the locations for the proposed Mittal plant? Or are the Mittals playing one State against the other?