Posco-India on Friday said it is now "comfortable" about its proposed Rs 51,000 crore steel project in Orissa, a day after its compensation package was approved by a committee set up by the state government to iron out land acquisition issues related to the project.
"Now we are comfortable," said Posco-India director Gee-Woong Sung on the sidelines of an MoU-signing ceremony.
Posco's Orissa project has been hanging fire since 2005 on account of staunch resistance from the local population. Subsequently, the state government set up the Rehabilitation and Peripheral Development Advisory Committee (RPDAC) to iron out the vexatious issues.
With the RPDAC approving the compensation package at its meeting in Jagatsinghpur yesterday, the company now feels it will be able to proceed with the project.
Sung, who on behalf of the company signed a MoU with the state government for setting up an Industrial Training Centre (ITC) in Ersama block of Jagatsinghpur district, said the steel major was "waiting" for renewal of its MoU for the original project.
The company's MoU with the Orissa government for setting up a 12-mtpa mega-steel plant near Paradip lapsed on June 22, 2010, and the document is yet to be renewed. The original MoU was signed on June 22, 2005. The MoU between the two parties needs to be renewed before work can commence on the project.
"We will do our best to implement the MoU with the state government," Sung said, adding that the company will set up a modern ITC near the proposed steel plant in Ersama block to benefit both the local people and the steel major.
While there was fresh hope at Posco-India's country headquarters here, many staff recalled the company's first CMD, Soung Sik Cho's, efforts to kick-start the project.
"Though Cho, a fine gentleman, had tried his best to take the project forward, the situation that time was not conducive," said a staff member of Posco-India.
Cho had to leave India two years ago as the project was not making any headway. The project only gained momentum after Posco got forest clearance for over 2,900 acres of government land falling within the block in December, 2009.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik's meeting with South Korean President Lee Myung Bak at New Delhi in January this year also gave a new lease of life to the project, which has made little progress since 2005.
The company had, in the meantime, received both environment and CRZ (costal regulation zone) clearance for setting up the project. A socio-economic and horticulture survey at the proposed plant site area had also been completed, based on which the company announced its rehabilitation package on Thursday.