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Posco 'running out of patience', may rethink Orissa project

The world's third-largest steel maker Posco has said the company is running out of patience over its long delayed Rs 54,000-crore steel project in Orissa and may have to take a final call in the near future. Sumant Banerji reports. Posco steel in melting pot

business Updated: Jan 07, 2011 01:50 IST
Sumant Banerji

The world's third-largest steel maker Posco has said the company is running out of patience over its long delayed Rs 54,000-crore steel project in Orissa and may have to take a final call in the near future.

The 12-million-tonne-per annum project has been stuck for the last five years and with an environment ministry panel recommending cancellation of its forest clearance proposal last year, the impasse seems endless.

"The government has to get its policies right and there has to be a way for speedy implementation," a senior company official from Korea told Hindustan Times.

"We got so many approvals in the past but now there is a review going on. Who pays for the delay? We remain hopeful (issues) will be resolved by March. Otherwise we may have to take a final call."

The proposed steel plant, the biggest in India, is to be set up in three phases but is already delayed by over three years. Originally slated to begin production from 2011-12, Posco has right now 600 acres of non contiguous land. Not even a stone-laying ceremony has taken place.

"We did everything according to the law...everything as desired by the government, still we have not been able to move an inch," the official said.

"In five years only files have moved back and forth. It is very frustrating and cannot go on forever."

While the project remains stuck, Posco, in a separate letter to the government, has expressed displeasure with the ministry of environment and forests contemplating a mandatory commitment of 5% of project cost towards corporate and social responsibility.

"This would be a huge cost considering that the project has not even started," the letter dated December 22, 2010 stated.

"We have been carrying out various community work in the area. We are fully committed to complying with all conditions on community programmes stipulated in MoE&F order of 2007."

Posco steel in melting pot