Posco may revive proposed plant

Bhubaneswar: Optimistic of establishing Posco`s proposed mega steel project near Paradip in Jagatsinghpur district, South Korea today said the company could revise its plan and go for a small capacity plant instead of its original design of setting up a 12mtpa steel mill.

"We are eager to complete whole size plant as planned in the state. If the situation does not permit to do so, we have to be satisfied with a smaller size," said Kim Joong-Keun, ambassador to the Republic of Korea in India. Noting that the company could go for construction work during the second half of this year if it was provided with 2700 acres of land, he told a seminar that the project could be expanded later if the villagers cooperated.

The South Korean steel major which signed an MoU with Odisha way back in 2005, had suffered a lot and unable to start work at the proposed site due to stiff opposition from local people and certain legal issues. The state government which had committed to provide 4004 acres of land for setting up a 12mtpa steel plant at an investment of Rs 52,000 crore, had so far arranged only 2000 acres for the purpose. "We can start the construction work if another 700 acres are given to the company," he said.

He said the company could import iron ore to meet its raw material requirement from within the country or outside in case the Supreme Court did not favour the proposal for mining. Referring to the controversial swapping clause in the lapsed MoU with the state government, Kim said the revised agreement would not have such provision.

Kim, who visited the proposed plant site area of the Posco-India near Paradip on Tuesday, said "I am very much encouraged over the development. The company is ready to exclude the land or village where there is protest to the project. Above all India is a democratic country." The South Korea ambassador also met Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik here this evening. Describing his meeting with Patnaik as "meaningful", Kim said the chief minister went into detail on what to do in future.

Asked whether South Korea would prefer to shift location of the proposed project due to stiff opposition to the steel plant, he said, "I do not know. I have to consult Posco people." The ambassador said he was satisfied now. "We have meaningful development in the Posco project and the CM went into details about what to do in the near future. So have been very much encouraged by what he told me."