Orissa CM Naveen Patnaik has said his govt will “shortly” renew its pact with South Korean steel major Posco for building the USD 12-billion (about Rs 54,000-crore) steel plant near Paradip.”The revision of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) will be done shortly,” Patnaik told reporters in New Delhi on Wednesday.
The Chief Minister also said that the process for acquisition of land for mega project will also be taken up soon.The Centre had on 2nd May granted final approval to Orissa for diversion of 1,253 hectares of forest land for Posco’s 12 million tonne plant at Jagatsinghpur in the state, the biggest foreign direct investment in the country.Posco needs a total 4,004 hectares of land for the project. The South Korean firm and the state government had entered into a MoU in June, 2005 for setting up the steel-to-port project.
However, the project remained at a standstill on account of opposition from local people who feared displacement due to the plant and also in want of necessary approvals, including clearances from Ministry of Forest and Environment (MoEF). The MoU expired on 21st June last year.
Earlier, while granting approval to Posco project early this month, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh had asked Orissa to ensure that the company is not allowed to export iron ore.
“I would now hope that the new MoU would be negotiated by the state government in such a way that exports of iron ore are completely avoided,” Ramesh had asserted.The South Korean major, expecting renewal of the pact soon, has already assured that no exports would be allowed from the project.
Posco India Vice-President Vikas Sharan had said that the company expected renewal of pact shortly and there were no plans for export of iron ore from the project.