Lift restrictions to enter project site: Posco CMD

Paradip: After an inordinate delay of more than six years, Posco-India has ventilated its ire openly for the first time over the proposed steel plant in Odisha. Addressing a seminar in Paradip on Thursday, POSCO-India CMD Yong-Won Yoon said, “POSCO-India would like to express its deep regrets that the police has not lifted the restriction on entering the site although we have requested several times since December 2011 to prepare for this seminar and also proceed with the land works such as removal of betel vines and cutting the trees etc.” The Posco-India CMD has also strongly requested that “the state government should start to construct the coastal road and lift the restriction on entering the site soon.”
In an official press release issued by the company, POSCO-India has also expressed its “disappointment that all the important people related with the project such as the Chief Minister and the Chief Secretary etc. were not able to attend the seminar, which can be interpreted as a negative indicator for the project”. Posco-India signed an  MoU with Odisha government for constructing a 12 MTPA steel project in Jagatsinghpur district. The project cost is pegged at $12 billion (Rs 52,000-crore) which is the largest foreign direct investment in India.
At the seminar, the POSCO-India CMD explained the progress status of the on-going projects and stressed that the Odisha project would be implemented as per its original plan.
The purpose of this seminar was to explain the progress status of POSCO’s steel projects in India including Odisha project and SAIL JV to the equipment suppliers and the construction companies and provide them with the basic information with regard to their potential business opportunities in various projects of POSCO.
In this seminar, POSCO-India declared that once at least 2,700 acres of land for the first and second phase out of the total 4,004 acres is handed over within this year, then the Company can start the land preparation by the end of this year, the main construction in early 2013, and the operation of the first phase 4 MTPA steel plant in 2016.
The seminar was attended by the Commercial Attache’ of Korean Embassy, leading global equipment suppliers and construction companies such as SMS Siemag, S-VAI, MHI, Shapoorji&Pallonji, Mukand Ltd, etc., who showed high interests in the POSCO’s projects. POSCO family companies such as POSCO E&C, POSCO ICT and POSRI also attended the seminar.
Although POSCO-India prepared for this seminar at the new site office which was opened in December 2011, the Company had to unwillingly shift the venue to its HRD Center as a result of restriction on entry to the site due to security concerns. Because POSCO-India’s HRD Center, inaugurated in 2010 for training the employees, is located 13 kms far from the site office, the attendees of the seminar were not able to see the current progress on the land.
Since October 2005, when the land for steel plant was applied, POSCO-India acquired the environmental clearance (’07. Aug), the approval for forest diversion by Supreme court (’08. Aug), the re-approval for building integrated steel plant by Central Government (’11.Jan), and the final approval for forest diversion by Central Government (’11 May). However, although the betel vine removal and the tree cutting in the Government land resumed since May 2011, the land acquisition by State Government has come to a halt due to the strong protest of anti-project people.