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Not quitting Odisha project, says Posco CMD

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Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, Oct 31:

Chairman-cum-Managing Director (CMD) of Posco India Gee Woong Sung today said that the company would not withdraw from its proposed $12billion steel project proposed to be set up at Jagatsinghpur in Odisha.

Photo Courtesy: forbesindia.com
Photo Courtesy: forbesindia.com

“We would not quit. No, never,” the Posco CMD told media persons after meeting Odisha chief secretary GC Pati here “We have been waiting for 10 years,” he added.

Sung, however, did not divulge anything about what exactly transpired during the hour-long discussion with the chief secretary. “The meeting was positive,” was all he was prepared to say about it.

It was the first meeting of GW Sung after becoming CMD of Posco India with Pati.

The meeting was also attended by steel and mines secretary G Srinivasan and Odisha Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (IDCO) CMD Vishal Dev.

The Posco India CMD also held discussion with the IDCO CMD separately on the pending land transfer issue.

“While IDCO has acquired 2700 acres of land for the first phase of the proposed project and has already handed over 1700 acres land to the company, it is yet to deposit Rs 54.22 crore towards the lease value of the remaining land,” said sources in the IDCO about the delay in the transfer of the remaining land.

IDCO has sanctioned lease for 2193.52 acres of forest land, which was de-reserved. 1301.58 acres of this land had already been handed over to Posco India, the sources said.

The issue of granting mineral linkage was also discussed with the chief secretary.

Recently, the Union government had sought clarifications from the state government on its recommendation to grant prospecting license to Posco India to mine iron ore from the Khandadhar mines in Sundargarh district.

The Odisha government had recommended 2,500 hectares, including 415 hectares in non-notified area, of mining area for the Korean company.

However, the Centre, on October 10, had asked the Odisha government to submit two separate recommendations for notified and non-notified areas of the mines. The government is expected to send the recommendations soon.

Even though Posco had inked a MoU with the state government on June 22, 2005 for a Rs 52,000 crore steel plant and port projects, the projects are yet to materialise on account of various impediments. Besides problems in land acquisition, the company has also faced hurdles in the grant of various clearances.