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Posco hopes to begin construction in April 2007

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Following land acquisition delays, co making accommodative changes

MR CHO SOUNG-SIK
MR CHO SOUNG-SIK

Ambarish Mukherjee

Mr Cho Soung-Sik said the situation is expected to change and notification for 1,100 acres of encroachment free land had already been made by Orissa.

New Delhi, Aug. 16

Following the delay in land acquisition for Posco's proposed steel plant in Orissa due to various reasons, the company is making accommodative changes in its plans in order to stick to the schedule and hopes to begin construction work from April 2007.

The company has now decided to begin construction with partial acquisition of land, Posco-India Chairman-cum-Managing Director, Mr Cho Soung-Sik told

Business Line

.

He said that out of the total 4,000 acres of land around 3,500 acres is Government land of different categories such as forest land, free from encroachment land, encroached land etc. The rest is tribal land.

"Now the Orissa Government is trying to complete handover of the land belonging to the Government by next March and then we would be able to begin construction work from April next year and later we can buy the tribal land," Mr Cho said.

Admitting that there had been resistance to the project, particularly on land acquisition, the company Chairman said that situation is expected to change and notification for 1,100 acres of encroachment free land had already been made by the Orissa Government last month.

"There were 6,000 objections. Out of them around 2,500 objections have been heard till now at the Tehsildar's court and another 3,500 objections are expected to be heard in the next two months. After that negotiations for the compensation would start," he said.

Regarding Orissa Government's proposal of using facilities available at Paradip port to meet Posco's requirement instead of setting up a captive port of its own, Mr Cho said "there are two points. Orissa definitely needs ports. Then why object."

Second, he said, "worldwide, all the top steel plants have their own ports". It is needed to be competitive and pointed out that the largest steel maker Mittal Steel too is now shifting his plan from Jharkhand to a port-based location in Orissa.

Regarding the issue of iron ore export, he said that the company would be exchanging 30 per cent of the 600 million tonnes of iron ore allocated to it. "We would be sending the ore from Orissa, which has 4.5 per cent alumina content to our Korea plant and replace the same amount with Brazilian ore that has 0.6 per cent alumina content. This blending is necessary for large sized blast furnaces," he said.

Related Stories:
POSCO reduces land area for steel mill
POSCO plan for captive port hits a rough patch
POSCO's plant to be constructed in 3 phases

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated August 17, 2006)
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