Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Nov 17:
The Centre is hopeful that the proposed Posco mega steel project in Odisha would be back on rails soon after a prolonged delay, Union Steel secretary Rakesh Singh said here today.
Briefing newsmen after a high-level review meeting on the status of the steel industry in Odisha with chief secretary GC Pati and senior officials of the concerned departments at the State Secretariat here, Singh said both the state and the Central government are committed to this mega project in the state.
“Land acquisition and other activities are going on. There has been some delay in the past. But we are very keen and confident that the Posco project will come up in due course,” the Steel secretary said.
When asked about allocation of the Khandadhar mines to the South Korean steel major, Singh said the issue had been mentioned to him. “I am not aware of it since this issue is being dealt with by the Ministry of Mines. However, I will take up the matter with my counterpart in the ministry of Mines,” he said.
To a question on land acquisition for the proposed project near Paradip in Jagatsinghpur district, he said there was no discussion on this issue in the meeting. He said Posco representatives had not been invited to the meeting.
Talking about the long term goal for steel production in the country, Singh said; “As per current projections, we are targeting a production of 300 million tonnes by the year 2025 in two phases. In the first phase, we have set a target of reaching a production of 100-200 million tonnes by 2020-21 and 300 million tonnes in the next four years.”
Asked about the targeted steel production in Odisha, he said “We are currently looking at 10-12 million tonnes from the state.”
To a question on the problems being faced by the private and public sector steel industries, the Steel secretary identified raw material linkage as the primary concern. “But the issue has received a positive response from the state government,” he said.
“The Centre is keen that the ore linkage must be ensured for all steel units being set up in Odisha. As far as pricing is concerned, the market forces will take care of this in the long run. There may be temporary shortages and we would like that the market forces to determine the prices”, Singh noted.
Curiously, while the Union Steel secretary talked at length about the Posco project, chief secretary GC Pati said there was no discussion on the mega project at the meeting. “We discussed eight projects in the private sector and six in the public sector. But there was no specific discussion on Posco,” Pati said.