Odisha has acquired 2100 acre land for Posco: Report

Bhubaneswar: Odisha government on Wednesday said that the state government has acquired 2,100 acre of land for the proposed mega steel project by Posco-India in Jagatsinghpur district, official sources said.

"State-owned Industrial Infrastracture Development Corporation (IDCO) has acquired 2,100 acre of land of which 546 acre had been handed over to Posco. Rest 1,554 acre is ready to be handed over to Posco," the status paper prepared by the state government said adding that balance 600 acre of land for the purpose was expected to be acquired within four months.

The paper was prepared for the purpose of the 2nd joint committee meeting at ministerial level in Seoul, South Korea on April 23, 2013, a senior official at the steel and mines department said.

Posco-India's MoU with the state government for setting up its 12mtpa greenfeild steel facility near Paradip at an investment of Rs 51,000 crore, has meanwhile lapsed. The company has reduced its land requirement from 4,004 acre to 2700 acre for building 8 mtpa steel plant in the first phase.

Both the state government and the South Korean steel major have been working for establishment of the 8mtpa steel facility now instead of the initially proposed 12mtpa capacity mega steel plant, they said.

Admitting that law and order problem at the project site was one of the reasons for the delay in implementation of the project, the state government said obtaining approval of forest diversion from the Ministrt of Environment and Forest also consumed a lot of time.

The state government has also pointed out that the MoEF while according approval for forest diversion of 2,959 acre of forest land, the MoEF did not appriciate swapping clause in the initial MoU. Therefore, discussion was held with the project authority to make certain changes, it said.

Since the project could not come up due to different factors, the state government's status paper said it has decided to extend the validity of the MoU for another six years. "An instrument of tripatite agreement will be signed between Posco, Posco-India and the state government," the report said.

On the mineral concession issue, the status paper said that as the state government's recommendation in favour of the South Korean steel major had been quashed by the Orissa High Court, the state filed a special leave petition in the Supreme Court challanging the high court order.

Besides, Posco-India and Geomin Minerals and Marketing Private Limited have also filed SLPs in the Apex Coirt. "These SLPs are now sub-judice in the Supreme Court of India," the status report mentioned.