Odisha seeks Centre’s help in dealing with Posco

Bhubaneswar, Aug 20 (IANS) Odisha Steel and Mines Minister Prafulla Mallick on Thursday said the state government will request the Centre to facilitate a discussion with Korean steel-maker Posco to set up their $12 billion steel mega-plant in Jagatsinghpur district.

“The chief secretary has been asked to apprise the government about the present status of the Posco project in the state. The central government will be requested to fix a date for holding of discussions in which representatives of both the governments and Posco officials will participate,” Mallick said.

The decision was taken at a high-level meeting chaired by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who reviewed the project issues here on Thursday. It was attended by Mallick, chief secretary G.C. Pati and other officials.

With the South Korean company entering into a memorandum of understanding with Uttam Steel and Power to conduct a feasibility study to set up a three million tonne per annum (MTPA) integrated steel plant in Maharashtra, the minister said the state government has no information on Posco setting up any plant outside Odisha.

“Posco should first come forward to hold discussions and clear its stand on whether it will set up its plant in Odisha or not. The state government will provide all possible assistance to the project. But the company should first come out with its intention over the project,” Mallick said.

Several Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MPs had met and apprised Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in New Delhi about the bottlenecks in the Posco project.

The Odisha chief secretary has also written a letter to the central government, citing international commitment and urging that the matter be fixed for discussion.

The South Korean company, which had signed a MoU with the Odisha government in 2005, could not go ahead with the proposed project even after 10 years. Issues relating to land acquisition, raw material linkage and various legal hurdles caused inordinate delay in setting up the project.

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