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Centre keen to resolve hurdles for Posco's Orissa project in 4-5 months

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The Chairman and Global Head, Posco, Mr Chung Joon-Yang, with the Minister for Steel, Mr Virbhadra Singh, in the Capital on Monday. —
The Chairman and Global Head, Posco, Mr Chung Joon-Yang, with the Minister for Steel, Mr Virbhadra Singh, in the Capital on Monday. —

Our Bureau

New Delhi, Jan. 25

The Union Government said on Monday that it is keen to resolve the land acquisition and regulatory hurdles for Posco's Rs 54,000 crore project in Orissa, within 4-5 months.

“I see the entire matter signed, sealed and delivered to Posco in the next four to five months, including physical transfer of land and other regulatory issues,” said the Minister of Steel, Mr Virbhadra Singh, after meeting a team of Posco officials led by its Chairman and Global Head Mr Joon-Yang Chung.

Mr Singh said that after the land has been handed over to Posco, production in the plant could start after two years.

Posco officials appeared satisfied after the meeting with the Minister and Mr Chung said, “It was a very fruitful meeting.”

Clearances

The Steel Minister said that Posco's project has already received the environmental and forest clearances as well as the Costal Regulation Zone clearance.

“Mines have also been allotted to Posco but some claimants including a PSU have moved the Orissa High Court against the allotment of mines to Posco,” said Mr Singh.

He added that the Centre would request the High Court to dispose of the case expeditiously and the litigant PSU would also be persuaded to withdraw the case.

Land acquisition

Regarding land acquisition issues for Posco in Orissa, Mr Singh said that rehabilitation and compensation to land owners must be done in a way to keep the land owners happy. He said, “We have suggested a methodology of annuity to be given to the land owners so that their sentiments of land ownership are not lost.”

Posco is also in talks with Maharashtra and Karnataka to set up steel plants, according to the Minister. Mr Singh said, “The company is talking to the Maharashtra and Karnataka Governments for setting up steel plants which would be over and above the project in Orissa.”

d.das@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated January 26, 2010)
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