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PM steps in; POSCO issue solution soon?

Steel Minister Virbhadra Singh on Sunday said the controversial R54,000-crore POSCO project in Orissa will soon see the light of day as the Prime Minister himself is looking into the issue.

business Updated: Aug 22, 2010 21:08 IST

Steel Minister Virbhadra Singh on Sunday said the controversial R54,000-crore POSCO project in Orissa will soon see the light of day as the Prime Minister himself is looking into the issue.

"Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is involved in the matter. I am engaged with it. Posco matter will be resolved soon."

Singh's statement comes in the backdrop of Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik seeking the Prime Minister's intervention after the environment ministry asked the state government to halt all project-related work, citing violation of green norms in acquiring land.

Patnaik is likely to meet the Prime Minster on Monday. "Patnaik will meet PM tomorrow and I think he will raise his concerns on the two mega projects (Vedanta and POSCO)," a government official said.

South Korea's POSCO, the world's third-largest steel maker, had entered into an agreement with the Orissa government in 2005 for setting up a steel plant with an annual production capacity of 12 million tonnes.

But, the project, billed as the country's largest single foreign direct investment, has failed to take off mainly due to land acquisition problems.

"If the need be, I will even take up the matter with Minister of Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh," Singh said.

Steel Secretary Atul Chaturvedi said last week that the project was likely to get all the necessary clearances in a month.

The Orissa government, in a communication to the environment ministry last week, had also contested the claims made by the three-member panel of the environment ministry.

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