Greater Noida, Jan 12:
Environment Minister M Veerappa Moily on Sunday gloated over the clearance given to South Korean steel maker Posco saying approvals should not be delayed ‘even for a day’ after due process of law is followed.
“I believe that no approval, after following the due process of law, should be kept pending for even a day,” he told reporters here pointing out that he had cleared projects worth Rs 1.5 lakh crore since he took over the additional charge of the Ministry last month.
Moily said he has cleared more then 70-80 projects and the remaining will be approved before month-end.
The key approvals accorded include the one for Posco’s USD 12-billion steel plant in Odisha.
The Minister said while the Posco project was approved on January 7, Vedanta’s Niyamgiri project has been rejected because of opposition to it by the majority of village bodies.
South Korean giant Posco got environmental clearance to build Rs 52,000-crore steel plant in Odisha, ending eight years of wait for a project that would involve the largest ever foreign direct investment in India.
The clearance is conditional to Posco spending on “social commitments”, which will raise the project cost by USD 600 million to USD 12.6 billion.
The approval came after the steel plant was delinked from the port project. The nod will pave the way for Posco to build a steel plant with an annual capacity of 12 million tonnes.
In Vedanta’s case, the ministry had refused the next stage forest clearance to OMC (Odisha Mining Corporation) and Sterlite’s (Vedanta group firm) mining project in Niyamgiri Hills area in Lanjigarh, Kalahandi and Rayagada districts, accepting the Forest Advisory Committee’s (FAC) recommendation for withdrawal of the clearance.
The Supreme Court had stalled Vedanta Group’s bauxite mining in Odisha till gram sabhas of Rayagada and Kalahandi districts in the state gave clearances.