Three major steel companies - Tata, Jindal and Essar - will lay foundation stones to set up steel plants in Jharkhand on Nov 14 to mark the fifth anniversary of the state's formation.

The representatives of the three companies met Chief Minister Arjun Munda Saturday in Ranchi and agreed to lay the foundation stone of their companies on that day. Jharkhand was created on Nov 15, 2000 out of Bihar.

The three companies have signed Memorandum of Understandings (MoU) with the state government to set up steel plants in the state at Manoharpur in Singbhum district.

Tata Steel will lay the foundation stone to set up a 12 million tonne-steel plant at Manoharpur in the state and for expansion of its existing plant at Jamshedpur from five million tonnes to 10 million tonnes.

For the new steel plant and expansion of its existing plant, Tata Steel will invest Rs.530 billion ($12 billion).

Jindal group will set up a five million tonne-steel plant with investment of Rs.115 billion ($2.6 billion). The foundation laying ceremony will take place in Manoharpur.

Essar will also lay the foundation stone at Manoharpur to set up 10 million tonne-steel plant with investment of Rs.250 billion ($5.7 billion).

If all the three proposed steel plants translate into reality then it will generate about 200,000 direct and indirect employment opportunities in the state.

The decision to lay the foundation stones was taken at a meeting of Tata Steel managing director B. Muthuraman, Jindal group chairman Naveen Jindal and Essar group vice-president S.K. Mehra.

This will be the biggest ever investment in the state. "We have got good cooperation from the state government," said Jindal to reporters in Ranchi.

At present, the Tata Steel plant and Bokaro Steel Plant produce five million and four million tonnes steel per annum. With the three proposed new steel plants and expansion of the existing Tata Steel plant, the state will produce 41 million tonnes steel in next 10 years.

At present India produces 34 million tonnes steel per annum and Jharkhand's share is nine million tonnes per annum.