Tata Steel on Wednesday commissioned its three million tonne per annum (mtpa) steel mill at its greenfield unit in Odisha's Kalinganagar, with the aim to expand the capacity to 16 mtpa with an investment of Rs 1 lakh crore by 2025.

The Kalinganagar plant is the largest single location greenfield steel project in India.

"As the various facilities of this steel plant are progressively commissioned, I am sure it will not only provide a fillip to the industrialisation of the state but also contribute to the local economy and the development of Kalinganagar and its nearby areas," said Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik after inaugurating the plant.

Tata Steel's 6 mtpa steel plant is being set up in two phases of 3 million tonnes each. It has invested about Rs.25,000 crore for the 3 mtpa steel plant.

With the commissioning of the first phase of the 6 million tonne steel plant, the total steel production of Tata Steel across the country would scale up to 13 million tonnes.

"Tata Steel is planning to expand the capacity of Kalinganagar plant to 16 million tonnes per annum by the year 2025 with cumulative investment of about Rs. one lakh crore. I also understand that it proposes to invest Rs. 2300 crore for scaling up of the capacity of its captive Khandabandh iron ore mine," said the chief minister.

Patnaik said he is looking forward to further investments in these projects as well as the ancillary and downstream projects.

"In the first phase of the project, more than Rs.25,000 crore has been invested, 3000 people have got direct employment and more than 22,000 have got indirect employment," he added.

Tata Group chairman Cyrus P Mistry said: "This plant is our key commitment towards nation building and an effort to ensure sustainable growth. I am confident that the plant will achieve global benchmarks in steel production and at the same time will remain committed to growth and development of the state of Odisha."

He said the company would invest Rs.2,000 crore to develop Khandbandh mines in Keonjhar district that would feed the steel plant at kalinganagar.

Earlier in the day, Kalinganagar Bistapita Birodhi Janamanch, an outfit protesting against the project, held a rally at the place where at least 13 tribals were killed in police firing in 2006.

Tata Steel had signed a memorandum of understanding with the Odisha government for setting up a 6 million tonne steel plant at Kalinganagar in November, 2004 at an estimated cost of Rs.15,400 crore.

But due to an agitation by people who lost their lands, work could not be taken up on the project till about 2010. As a result, the project cost for the first phase has mounted to over Rs.25,000 crore.