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Odisha govt to sign fresh agreement with Posco

PTI | Last Updated: Saturday, January 11, 2014 - 22:45

Bhubaneswar: Optimistic about progress of Posco's Rs 52,000 crore steel project, Odisha government today said it would sign a fresh tripartite agreement with the South Korean steel major as the validity of the original MoU lapsed three years ago.

"The state government will sign a fresh agreement with Posco and Posco-India for setting up the proposed mega steel mill near Paradip," Steel and Mines minister R K Singh said while describing the Centre's environmental clearance as a positive sign for the country's biggest FDI project.

Though the state government had signed an MoU with Posco-India way back in 2005, its tenure lapsed after five years in 2010. Since then, there is no formal agreement with Posco for the proposed plant.

Singh said the fresh agreement would be signed based on a guideline given by the Centre. "We have sought certain clarifications from the company before signing the pact," he said adding the issues could be sorted out across the table.

He, however, said the project work could continue even without having any agreement with the company.

Asked about delay in implementation of the project, the minister said "though it is said that both the Centre and the state were keen for the project, we do not feel such encouragement from the UPA government. However, now it has issued environmental clearance."

He claimed that the state government had recommended prospecting license (PL) in favour of Posco way back in 2006. However, it was returned to the state again by the Centre for review of the recommendation after considering all applications for Khandadhar iron ore reserve.

Meanwhile, the state government has already handed over 1,703 acre of land to Posco-India for the purpose and another 1,000 acre of land is ready to be given, said Jagatsinghpur district collector S K Mallick. He claimed that Posco has already started construction of the boundary wall.

The company required 2700 acre of land to start construction for its 8 mtpa steel mill in phase one.

Senior BJP leader and former MP Jual Oram threatened to launch agitation if there was any bid to start mining at Khandadhar area. "Khandadhar is an unique water fall and famous religious spot. We will never allow mining there," Oram, the national vice-president of BJP said.

First Published: Saturday, January 11, 2014 - 22:45
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