Korea rejects UN report, hopes start of Posco in next year
Bhubaneswar: Rejecting a UN panel recommendation for halting Posco's port-to-steel plant project, both the Republic of Korea and the Odisha government on Monday exuded optimism to go for the ground-breaking ceremony of the proposed facility near Paradip early next year.
"We are happy that the state government has acquired the land required for Posco project. I hope everything will be ready and the Posco project work will start soon," Korean ambassador Joon-gyu Lee told reporters here after meeting Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.
"I wish to bring the Korean Republic's first woman President Park Geun Hye, who is to visit India early next year, to Odisha," the diplomat said adding, "If possible, I'll like our President and your Chief Minister to launch this mega project."
Posco, waiting for almost eight years to establish its proposed 12 mtpa greenfield steel plant at an investment of Rs 52,000 crore, has made certain progress. Though the state government has acquired over 2,700 acres of land for first phase work, the taking over of physical possession of the land by the company has become difficult due to opposition from the local villagers.
Asked about the UN Human Rights panel recommendation which asked Posco to halt Odisha project alleging possible displacement of thousands of people and disruption in their livelihoods, Lee said "I am disappointed. That is not the final report of the UN. It is a some kind of press release."
Terming the UN panel recommendation as "one-sided", the diplomat said "they have not come to Bhubaneswar or met people at the ground. They came in few number to Delhi and met people who are opposing the project. They have not met us."
"The project is waiting for eight years. Let the project work start. We are doing best to inaugurate the project soon," Lee said.
Replying to a question on the alleged human rights violation during land acquisition, Lee suggested the media to see what was happening. "They (Posco) are starting work very early next year," the ambassador said.