BJP wants Odisha government to clarify stand on Posco project

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Bhubaneswar: The opposition BJP on Monday asked the State government to make its intentions clear about Posco’s troubled $12 billion steel project before the company made its stand clear.

“There are contradictory statements coming from the State government over the setting up of the Posco project in the state. It seems the government is not interested to set up the project,” senior BJP leader Bijay Mohapatra told reporters here.

He said the government is interested in publicity rather than setting up large investment projects in the state.

Before the South Korean steel giant makes its stand clear, the State government should make its intentions clear about the project. Posco should also come clean over the setting up of the project, said Mohapatra.

Steel and Mines minister Prafulla Mallick said the State government is very eager to start the project and has also asked the South Korean steel giant to make it clear whether it is still keen to set up its steel plant in Jagatsinghpur district.

“Before the enactment of the amended MMDR Act, the State government had sent several proposals to the Centre to allocate mines to Posco… give special consideration to the FDI project. But the Centre refused our proposal,” said Mallick.

The minister said the Centre could have allocated mines to the steel company before the Act came into force. He also said Posco should clear the air over its participation in the competitive bidding to get the mines.

“Under the provisions of the new law, Posco has to clarify under what conditions it will set up its industry here and whether it will participate in the e-auction or not,” said Mallick.

The minister said the government is ready to provide long term ore linkage to the project through the Odisha Mining Corporation.

“We assure the South Korean company to provide raw material through OMC. We are providing raw materials to end-users from the 50 percent of the produce that we are getting from non-captive mines and ores mined by the OMC. We can provide ore for Posco if it so desires,” said Mallick.

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