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Posco closer to starting line

India’s largest foreign direct investment venture, Posco’s 12 million tonne per annum (tpa) steel plant in Orissa, inches closer towards the starting line, reports Sumant Banerji.

business Updated: Sep 14, 2008 20:36 IST
Sumant Banerji

Even as most mega projects in the country are increasingly getting mired in controversies relating to land acquisition, India’s largest foreign direct investment venture, Posco’s 12 million tonne per annum (tpa) steel plant in Orissa, is inching closer towards the starting line.

On a high, post a Supreme Court verdict on forest diversion last month that freed up over 2,900 acres of land, the Korean major is now planning a new resettlement and rehabilitation (R&R) policy, to effectively quell remaining protesters against the project.

The new policy will go much beyond its earlier indicative draft released in February and the state’s own R&R policy, Vikas Sharan, senior general manager, Posco India told Hindustan Times.

“We have prepared the new policy which will be presented at our meeting with the Relief and Periphery Development Advisory Committee on the 30th of this month,” Sharan said.

“We will also present a road map of all the corporate social responsibility activities we intend to take up and all of this has been prepared after studying the merits and demerits of similar projects across the country.”

The Rs 52,813 crore project has been in a state of limbo even after three years of signing the MoU. Procedural delays coupled with local agitation against land acquisition have been the main causes in the stalemate of the 4,004-acre project that’s more than four times the size of Tata Motor’s Nano plant in Singur.

With the verdict from the apex court on August 8, the company is hoping land would be leased out in the next four months and construction could be started thereafter.

The delay so far has already impacted the project and is also expected to lead to a cost escalation. “We are running behind our original schedule by around 18 months,” Sharan said. “This will increase our costs.”