Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Aug 23:
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley are likely to have a meeting with Posco’s representative in New Delhi in the first week of September in a bid to break the deadlock over the South Korean steel major’s steel project near Paradip in Odisha’s Jagatsinghpur, billed the biggest FDI project in the country, informed Bhatruhari Mahtab, leader of the BJD parliamentary party in the Lok Sabha.
Mahtab said efforts are on by the state government to facilitate the Posco project adding problems coming in its way will be resolved.
“On August 25, the state chief secretary and principal secretary to the Prime Minister will have a preliminary meeting. We will pay attention to the problems coming in the way of the project. In the first week of September, hopefully the Chief Minister and the Union Finance Minister will have a meeting with Posco representative. When we had met him during the just concluded Parliament session, he had assured to look into to what extent comfort levels can be expanded. That is being done now,” Mahatab said.
The BJD MP from Puri Pinaki Mishra said the ball is now in the Centre’s court.
“It’s not land acquisition; it’s getting back encroached government land from encroachers by paying them compensation. There has been no land acquisition. Land acquisition so far has been zero. The plant is supposed to come up on government land. The main issue now is because of the new Act, Posco is saying if it goes through the auction route, it won’t be feasible for them. They have to sit down with the Central government. The Central government has to decide if it wants this heavy investment into India. It is for the Central government to take a call. There is nothing left for the state government to do in this,” said Mishra speaking to reporters.
On the other hand, Prafulla Mallick, Minister for Steel & Mines, has reiterated that Posco has to go through the auction route as per the provisions of the amended MMDR Act to have mines, but hastended to add that the state government can give it long-term ore linkage for the project. He refuted charges made by the Union Mines Minister Narendra Singh Tomar that the state government had not informed the Union government within the appropriate time.
“We will extend whatever help is requires from us. We can provide it raw materials by having long-term ore linkage through OMC. According to Union Minister of Mines, it has to participate in auction to get mines as per provisions of the amended MMDR Act. The Union Minister’s charges that the state government had not informed the Central government at the appropriate time is not correct. The state government had provided all information at the appropriate time,” said Mallick.