Odisha to hand over 1,554 acres of land to Posco

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government is all set to hand over 1,554 acres of land to Posco-India for setting up its proposed mega steel project in Jagatsinghpur district, official sources said on Sunday.
"The state government has already handed over 546 acre of land to Posco and rest 1,554 acres is ready to be handed over to the company," official sources said quoting recent status report on Posco-India project.
The government expects that with the handing over of the land, the company would expedite its corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities at the proposed plant site villages, sources said.
The state government maintains that the South Korean steel major required 2,700 acre of land for its 8 mtpa capacity steel facility near Paradip on stage-1. Of the immediate requirement of 2,700 acre of land, the state owned Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (IDCO) has already acquired 2,100 acre of land, it said.
"Balance 600 acre of land is expected to be acquired within the next four months. After that, IDCO will be in a position to hand over this land to Posco," it said adding that the company required a total of 4,004 acre of land for setting up its proposed 12 mtpa greenfield steel project at an investment of Rs 52,000 crore.
The required land (4,004 acre) would be acquired from eight villages like Nuagaon, Dhinkia, Noliasahi, Gobindpur, Polang, Bayanalakanda, Bhuyanpal and Jatadhar, sources said.
This apart, the state owned Industrial Promotion and Investment Corporation Limited (IPICOL) has also recommended 1,500 acre of land for township at Paradip and 20 acre of land for Posco-India's corporate headquarter at Bhubaneswar, they said.
The state government has also accorded administrative approval for 437.69 acre of private land for the project site and 52.30 acre for township, they said.
Citing reasons behind the delay in land acquisition for the project, the state government in the report said that due to law and order problem at the proposed project site and delay in obtaining approval of forest diversion from the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF), no tangible progress was made for implementing of the project during the last seven years.

The state government also pointed out that "while according approval for forest diversion for 2,959 acre of forest land, MoEF did not appreciate the swapping clause of the existing MoU".

Posco-India's MoU with the state government for the mega steel project in 2005 has meanwhile lapsed in 2010.

"IPICOL has recommended for extension of the validity of the MoU for further period of six years," the status report said.

On mineral concession issue, the state government maintained that the company had achieved the milestones for grant of mineral concession on October 19, 2006. "Prospecting License (PL) for iron ore over an area of 2500 hectare at Khandadhar in Sundergarh district was recommended to the Government of India," it said.

However, the state government's recommendation was quashed by the Orissa High Court. The state government on its part has filed a special leave petition (SLP) in the Supreme Court on October 29, 2010.

Geomin Minerals and Marketing Private Limited, which challenged the state government's recommendation in favour of Posco in the High Court, has also filed a SLP in the Supreme Court. The project authority (Posco India) has also filed another SLP in the Apex Court.