South Korean steelmaker POSCO's Rs 52,000-crore Orissa project appears to have slipped into a limbo with the environment ministry halting forest clearance for the project.
Though Orissa chief minister Naveen Patnaik is still hopeful about the "dream" project pulling through, not many share his optimism given the spate of controversies surrounding the project.
The Korean steel major, which signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the state government on June 22, 2005, is still awaiting 4,000 acres of land to set up its 12-mtpa (metric tonnes per annum) greenfield steel mill. According to provisions of the MoU, the company was to complete the first phase of the unit by July 2010, or 36 months from the date of taking possession of the land.
"Despite all-out efforts, the state government has not been able to hand over an inch of land to POSCO. We will continue to fight for the rights," said Abhay Sahu, president, Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti .
State steel and industries minister Raghunath Mohanty, however, expressed confidence that the project will go through. "We are confident that Posco will be able to set up its unit near Paradip."