Bhubaneswar: On 2 June 2017 the state government bring in to transfer the controversial proposed POSCO land near Paradip, which had been acquired for South Korean steel giant Posco, to Sajjan Jindal-led JSW Steel which has proposed to set up a 10 mtpa steel project at the site.
The high level clearance authority (HLCA) chaired by chief minister Naveen Patnaik cleared the proposal for the steel project, in which the company has assured to invest Rs 50,000 crore. The plant is expected to generate employment for nearly 30,000 people.
Asked whether the JSW would come up at the site proposed for Posco, chief secretary A P Padhi said though there was no discussion in the HLCA meeting about transfering the land acquired for Posco, the ‘company has requested for that land’.
“The company has asked for total 4,500 acres of land for the project. But we would hand over the land based on our assessment,” Padhi said adding the company is expected to start commissioning of the plant within next four years.
Padhi said since HLCA approval itself is considered as a statutory approval, the company would not sign any MoU with the state government.
According to sources, the company would now negotiate with different agencies of the state government to get resources like land, water, mining linkage and environmental clearance.
Besides the steel plant, the HLCA also cleared another proposal of the JSW steel to set up a slurry pipeline from Joda to Paradip for the purpose of the feasible transportation of ore.
Odisha Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (Idco), state’s nodal agency for land acquisition, had acquired 2700 acres of land near Paradip for the Posco project. “Of the 2700 acres, the IDCO has transferred nearly 1880 acres to POSCO, which was cancelled in April and brought back to the land bank,” said an Idco official.
As local protest against land acquisition was the key reasons behind closure of Posco, the Idco has been constructing boundary walls around the acquired land.
The PoscoPratirodhSangramSamiti (PPSS) that initiated the agitation against the South Korean company had recently warned that it would re-start agitation if the government gave the land to any other company for setting up industries.
Odisha’s journey of industrialization has not been very smoothans continuous as two of the major steel projects like Posco and Arcelor Mittal have already withdraw their projects owing to the obstruction in land acquisition and in connection to acquiring raw material.
The state government has singed MoUs for 50 steel plants of different capacities over the years, out of which around 30, as per the government information, have started production partially or fully.
The HLCA, among others have cleared eight more investment proposals that included expansion of the refinery and smelter of Nalco at Damanjodi and Angul respectively, expansion of urea plant by Paradeep Phosphates Limited and power and renewable energy plant by Neyveli Lignite Corporation India Limited.