Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Apr 21:
Uncertain about its proposed mega steel project in Odisha, South Korean steel major Posco is now hunting for alternative locations in the other states, said Union Steel and Mines minister Narendra Singh Tomar.
Making a statement to this effect in a written reply in the Lok Sabha on Monday, he said the Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) and Posco had a recent discussion on possible collaboration opportunities, including setting up of an integrated steel plant.
“The discussions, however, are at a very preliminary stage,” he added.
To a question on Posco’s $12 billion Odisha project, considered the largest FDI in India, Tomar said the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) Posco signed with the Odisha government for setting up of a mega steel plant near Paradip in Jagatsinghpur district has not yet been renewed by the state government.”
The steel maker’s proposed project in Odisha has been stalled for about a decade on account of regulatory hurdles and delays in land acquisition and iron ore linkage.
The company, which had earlier been promised the Khandadhar mines on lease for its proposed plant, has now lost hope of laying its hands on the rich iron ore mine as the Centre has made a provision for its auction.
Though the Union minister did not say about the location of the project to be set up jointly by Posco and SAIL, sources said talks are on between the two companies for a three million tonne integrated steel plant in Jharkhand.
It may be mentioned that Posco had a meeting with SAILearlier too, but nothing came out of it. The talks between the two companies on setting up of a steel plant at Bokaro had not made progress as Posco demanded more than 50 percent stake in the proposed steel plant.