OST Business Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Oct 7:
South Korean ambassador to India Joon-gyu Lee today expressed the hope that the foundation stone for the proposed Posco steel plant near Paradip would be laid by the Korean president early next year.
“We are happy that the state government has completed the land acquisition for the project. I hope everything will be ready and the Posco project work will start soon,” Lee said after meeting Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik here on Monday.
“I wish to bring the Korean Republic’s first woman President Park Geun Hye, who is to visit India early next year, to Odisha,” the diplomat said adding, “If possible, I’ll like our President and your Chief Minister to launch this mega project.”
The Chief Minister too exuded confidence about an early start to work on the project saying; “The Posco project is now on track. We are hopeful that work on the project will begin soon.”
Asked about the UN Human Rights panel recommendation, which asked Posco to halt its Odisha project alleging possible displacement of thousands of people and disruption in their livelihoods, Lee said “I am disappointed. That is not the final report of the UN. It is some kind of a press release.”
Terming the UN panel recommendation as “one-sided”, the diplomat said “they have not come to Bhubaneswar or met people at the ground. They came in few numbers to Delhi and met people who are opposing the project. They have not met us.”
“The project is waiting for eight years. Let the project work start. We are doing best to inaugurate the project soon,” Lee said.
Replying to a question on the alleged human rights violation during land acquisition, Lee suggested the media to see what was happening.
Posco, waiting for almost eight years to establish its proposed 12 MTPA greenfield steel plant at an investment of Rs 52,000 crore, has made some progress. Though the state government has acquired over 2,700 acres of land for the first phase work, taking physical possession of the land by the company has become difficult due to opposition from local villagers.