Odisha plant not possible by 2017: Posco to NGT

New Delhi/Bhubaneswar: South Korea steel behemoth Posco on Friday told National Green Tribunal (NGT) that it would not be able to set up the proposed steel plant in Odisha by 2017.

Since construction work for the Rs 52,000 crore project is yet to begin at the site due to regulatory hurdles, completion of the project will not be possible in such a short period, it informed the tribunal.

Official sources close to the development said the company has not been able to obtain forest and other clearances while its environmental clearance is valid until July 2017.

In January, making its stand clear on the company’s proposed greenfield unit, Union Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha had said Posco has to take final decision over its steel project in Odisha.

“That is a decision for Posco to take,” he had told media persons to queries over the fate of the stalled project in the State.

“We are very supportive to all companies including Posco. But, all have to follow all the rules and laws of the country to set up their projects,” said Sinha.

His statement indicated that Posco has to bid for mines according to the amended Mines and Mineral (Development and Regulation) Act 2015, if it wants to run the proposed steel plant at Jagatsinghpur in Odisha.

Notably, the South Korean steel company is yet to make its stand clear over the proposed steel project while the Odisha government has urged the Prime Minister’s Office to resolve the impediments in the way of the project.

In a related development South Korea’s Ambassador to India Cho Hyun called on chief minister Naveen Patnaik here at the secretariat on Friday.

After the meeting, Hyun told reporters, “Unfortunately Posco’s steel plant could not be developed well. South Korea has many more things to offer and not just Posco. Many trade opportunities are there which India may take interest.”

Patnaik, after the hour-long meet tweeted, “Discussed investments & trade opportunities in #Odisha with Korean Ambassador Mr. Cho Hyun.”