The Centre is likely to remove green hurdles for Posco’s steel plant in Orissa but bauxite mining for Vedanta Resources may get stuck for now.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has reportedly assured Orissa Chief Minister Navin Patnaik to expedite the project following Steel Minister Virbhadra Singh briefing the PM on the issue over the weekend.
The Environment ministry had stalled Posco’s land acquisition citing violation of Forest Rights Act and has constituted a fact-finding committee.
Following the PM’s intervention the committee has been asked to expedite its report, which would be the basis for the environment ministry’s review of its earlier order. A government official said the ministry has assured hurdles will be removed within a month.
“PM has assured the removal of hindrances,” Patnaik said after meeting Singh on Monday. He told the PM that stalling the R54,000 crore Posco project — the biggest FDI in the country — would dent India’s credibility as an investment destination.
Orissa government had approved the project in 2005.
Patnaik, however, failed to get similar assurance for Vedanta’s bauxite mining project. Vedanta has been charged with violations by the N C Saxena committee and Orissa Pollution Control Board.
While the PM reportedly said the environment scrutiny of the project will be hastened, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh assured of taking a “rational” view of the Forest Advisory Committee recommendation.