A decade on, Posco still a distant dream

A decade on, Posco still a distant dream

The Posco project continues to be a distant dream for Odisha even ten years after signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the mega steel plant in coastal Jagatsinghpur district.

 

The signing of the important document between the state government and the South Korean major completed a decade on Monday amidst intense speculation that the multi-national company would be pulling out of the Odisha project any day. June 22, 2005 was the day on which the Naveen Patnaik administration and Posco had inked the MoU for the prestigious steel project.

Interestingly, the MoU had expired five years ago. Both the parties have not been able to renew the important document despite several attempts.

At the time of signing of the MoU, the South Korean steel major was contemplating to set up a 10 million tonne per annum plant at the cost of Rs 52,000 crore. Around 4,004 acres of land were required to implement the project. 

However, continued agitation by the local villagers prompted Posco to slash the capacity to 8 million tonne per annum and the cost as well as the land requirement had been reduced accordingly.

The state government, as it stands today, has already acquired 2,700 acres of land for the 8 million tonne project of which 1,700 acres has already been handed over to the South Korean company.

The latest hurdle to hit the ill-fated mega project is the captive iron ore mine for the supply of raw material for the proposed steel plant. 

At the time of signing of the MoU it was agreed that the South Korean major will be provided iron ore mines on allotment basis and the state government accordingly had sent its recommendation to the Centre to allot Posco the mines in Khandadhar hills in western Odisha.

However, the new NDA regime has made it clear that the South Korean company would have to participate in auction process to get the mines. A blame game has already begun over the prestigious project between the ruling BJD in the state and BJP, the principal partner in the NDA government at the Centre. 

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