Unable to execute project in Odisha now: POSCO

New Delhi: South Korean major Posco has told the National Green Tribunal that its 12-billion dollar steel project in Odisha “cannot proceed” any further at this stage due to regulatory hurdles.

The steel maker told the green panel that the company was yet to receive land and forest clearance required for setting up the 12-million tonne per annum plant.

“Counsel appearing for the project proponent submits that (as) their environmental clearance is valid only upto July 19, 2017, they would not be able to do any work because the land has not been handed over to them and, therefore, the project cannot be proceed any further,” a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar noted. At this stage “they (Posco) are unable to carry out the project” and if they plan they will take advantage of the environmental clearance and complete the project, a bench noted. The company also submitted that it has not been able to obtain forest and other clearances while its environmental clearance is valid until July 2017. The submissions came while hearing of a plea filed by environment activist Prafulla Samantray challenging Ministry of Environment and Forest’s environmental clearance to Posco. Posco had entered into a pact with the Odisha government on June 22, 2005 for the plant, which included iron ore mine development. The steel maker’s proposed 12-billion dollar project at Jagatsinghpur district in Odisha for producing 12 million tonne per annum (MTPA) steel is viewed as the largest FDI in India. It has, however, been stalled for about a decade due to regulatory issues, including delay in land acquisition. The tribunal was informed by the counsel for the environment ministry that the facts submitted by Posco were correct. “In view of the above this application does not survive and is rendered infructuous. However, the project proponent is to inform the applicant and the tribunal, if they want to carry on their project on the strength of EC. “Then the applicant would have the right to revive this application before the tribunal” the bench said while posting the matter for next hearing on May 9. — PTI

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