Days after environment ministry committee rejected a port for Posco's steel plant in Orissa, the ministry on Tuesday provided an alternative for transportation by allowing expansion of the port at Paradip.
The ministry's expert appraisal committee (EAC) had upheld the environmental clearance to Posco's $12 billion project in Paradip but rejected the approval for an exclusive port on Mahanadi river.
Most EAC members felt that a new port for Posco will have adverse environment impact and there was no need for two ports within a distance of less than 100 km.
The EAC also said that initial environmental approval for the project in 2007 was correct while nullifying the objections raised by members investigating alleged environmental violations for acquiring land for Posco by the Orissa government.
Allowing per annum steel production of four million tonnes, the EAC has imposed additional green conditions on Posco, to take effect on more investment.
The final decision on Posco will, however, be taken by environment minister Jairam Ramesh as another ministry committee, the Forest Advisory Committee, recommended suspension of the project's forest clearance till provisions of the Forest Rights Act are implemented.
The minister is expected to decide before end of this January. Before taking final decision on Posco, Ramesh approved creation of additional capacity to handle 10 million tonnes each of iron ore and coal per annum at Paradip Port.
The Orissa government had sought approval for the project in December 2008.
To develop the project, the ministry has imposed 22 green conditions on the project.