Posco to shift plant: Minister

Company denies change in plans, says it will not move out of Orissa


“Posco is facing problem of land (acquisition). Now recently they came to me. They have decided to move to a different place,” he told reporters on the sidelines of conference here. Later, the minister’s office said that Posco will not move out of Orissa — where the firm is awaiting iron ore leases — but they may be moving to a nearby location.

When contacted Posco India Vice-President Vikas Sharan said, “There were never any plans to move from the site area in the past nor there are any such plans now. We are committed to the Orissa project.” Meanwhile speaking in Orissa, a Posco official admitted that some villagers at the proposed plant site are still opposed to the project, and efforts are on to win them over.

The South Korean steel maker has proposed setting up an integrated steel project in Orissa with a capacity of 12 million tonne per annum. The company is awaiting mining leases in the state to feed the proposed venture which had also received a green signal from the Supreme Court green bench last year. The matter relating to iron ore leases is pending with the Orissa High Court at present. Meanwhile, speaking in Bhubaneshwar, Orissa Steel and Mines Minister Raghunath Mohanty said, “The project needs some more time for beginning construction work.”

The minister added, efforts are being made to convince people of the benefits of the project. Further, Posco India General Manager Saroj Mohapatra said the company is “having serious discussions at different levels — government officials, people and others,” to take the project off stream.

Posco, which signed an MoU with the state government on June 22, 2005, is facing stiff opposition from the locals in acquiring land for the project which requires 4,004 acres.

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