In what may finally set the ball rolling in country’s biggest foreign direct investment project, the ministry of environment and forests on Friday cleared Korean steelmaker Posco’s Rs 56,400 crore steel project in Orissa.
This would allow Posco to acquire forest land that makes up for 2,900 acres of the 4,004 acre project.
So far, the company has in its posession only 600 acres of non contiguous land. “This is a very positive development and the year has begun for us in the best possible way,” said Vikas Sharan, senior vice-president, Posco India. “Now we will try to start construction of our plant as soon as possible.”
The steel plant, which will be Posco’s only integrated plant outside Korea, has so far remained on paper and has already been delayed by over two years. The memorandum of understanding for the project was signed way back in 2005 and construction was slated to begin by April 2007.
Steel production as part of the project first phase was tipped to commence by 2011-12.
“With the approvals in line, it is a formality to hand over the land to the company,” said Ashok Mahadeo Rao Dalwai, steel and mines secretary of Orissa.