Odisha govt plans high-level meet to resolve Posco issue

Odisha govt plans high-level meet to resolve Posco issue

A final decision on whether the South Korean steel major Posco would set up its proposed mega plant in Odisha or not is expected to be taken at a high-level meeting in New Delhi on Tuesday.

The important meeting scheduled to be chaired by Union cabinet secretary would be attended by a team of senior state government officials headed by chief secretary G C Pati as well as Posco India representatives.

The meeting has assumed significance in view of a series of recent developments, including a high-level meeting here chaired by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to discuss the multi-crore project which is yet to see the light of the day even a decade after the MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) was inked for the prestigious steel mill.

At the meeting, Patnaik had directed his officials to take a final call on the project after holding a discussion with the Centre. A team of ruling BJD MPs had also met Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and had requested him to intervene to save the prestigious project which was on the verge of being scrapped.

A few days ago, the South Korean steel major had announced in Seoul that it would put its proposed Odisha project on the backburner for the time being. The company’s recent decision to set up a steel plant in Maharashtra in joint venture had also pushed its proposed project in the eastern state to further uncertainty.

Highly placed official sources here said that at the tripartite meeting in New Delhi, the state government team would ask the Posco officials to spell out clearly what exactly they are planning for their Odisha project.

State steel and mines minister Prafulla Mallick and industries minister Debi Prasad Mishra have already gone on record saying that their government is prepared to extend all the support the South Korean company needs to set up its project in the state. “They should spell out clearly what they want,” both the ministers said while informally talking to newsmen here.

The state government has already acquired land required for the project in coastal Jagatsinghpur district. The project had faced many hurdles and the latest one was the Union government’s announcement that Posco would have to participate in auction process to get iron ore mines for its raw material needs. The South Korean company wanted the mines on allotment basis.

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