With the fate of South Korean steel major Posco's project in Orissa hanging in the balance, all eyes are now on the Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) meeting scheduled in Delhi on Monday.
Though the N C Saxena Committee and subsequently the Meena Gupta Committee gave adverse reports on Posco's proposed 12 million tonnes per annum steel project near Paradip, in Jagatsinghpur district, the Orissa government is hopeful that the country's biggest FDI project will not die a premature death like a separate bauxite mining project involving UK-based Vedanta Resources.
"Despite a number of negative reports on Posco, we are hopeful that the Centre will not take any harsh decision on the project. This is because of nature of the project and its non-implementation could create a bad image for the country," said a senior minister in the Naveen Patnaik Cabinet.
The fate of Posco's steel mill became more uncertain after a majority in the four-member committee headed by Meena Gupta suggested withdrawal of the clearances given to the project.
Earlier, the Saxena Committee had made a similar recommendation, which led to the stoppage of activities at the project site. "The Centre issued stop work order at Posco project site when most crucial land acquisition was in full swing," said a senior official. He added that the government had acquired about 1,000 acres of land within a few days.
The outcome of the FAC meeting is keenly awaited by all concerned. "We hope the FAC meet will allow works at the proposed plant site area," said Anadi Rout, the leader of a local pro-Posco group.