New Delhi: South Korean steel major Posco may begin work on its Rs 52,000 crore steel mill in Odisha in July, as the state government likely to hand over 2,700 acres to it by June.
"The Odisha government would start land acquisition work next month and is likely to hand over 2,700 acres of land to Posco by June in the wake of discussions Prime Minister's Office," sources told media.
The development follows Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's office reviewing with the Odisha government the progress of long pending 12 million tonne (MT) steel plant in the state.
Singh is on a visit to South Korea where he is scheduled to hold bilateral talks with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak. The project is expected to figure in the discussions.
The steel plant, proposed at Jagatsinghpur district in Odisha, is hanging fire for over six years due to land acquisition hurdles.
Sources said Posco is in the possession of 500 acres It requires 4,004 acres for the 12-MTPA-capacity plant. The state government so far has acquired about 2,000 acres.
When contacted, a Posco official said once the state government transfers 2,700 acres to it, the company will go ahead with 4-MTPA capacity initially and augment it as and when the required land is available.
Officials of the Odisha government are understood to have told the PMO that Posco should at least begin work on the land already acquired for the project.
The PMO is learnt to have asked from the state officials as to why the memorandum of understanding (MoU), expired more than a year ago, has not been renewed.
The issue has been raised twice in past by South Korean President Myung-bak with President Pratibha Patil and Prime Minister Singh.
Posco is yet to initiate any work at the proposed site due to opposition from the locals and activists against land acquisition. Besides, the environmental clearance for the project was also stuck for few years, before being given go-ahead early last year, with certain conditions.