South Korean steelmaker Posco is likely to start work on its delayed steel unit in Odisha within a year as the State has transferred a significant chunk of land required for the mega project to the firm, a senior government official said on Thursday.
“I think, they (Posco) should start (work on the unit) in a year or so,” U.P. Singh, Joint Secretary in the Steel Ministry, told reporters on the sidelines of the India Steel-2013 summit organised by industry body Ficci in Mumbai.
The Odisha government has already transferred around 1,700 acres to the company out of the 2,700 acres required for the plant in Jagatsinghpur district, he said.
The Korean major, which is not able to set up the unit for the past seven years due to land acquisition issues and agitation by the locals, has revised its land requirement to 2,700 acres from the earlier 4,000 acres.
It has also scaled down its production plan to 8 million tonnes in the first phase from 12 million tonnes earlier.
Even as the agitation against land acquisition and establishment of the proposed steel project of POSCO continues, ground-levelling work for the venture may start in a few months as the Naveen Patnaik Government has been able to hand over 1,700 acres to the South Korean steelmaker.
The company needs 2,700 acres for an 8 million tonne capacity steel plant, but the State Government has not been able to hand over that much of land as it is yet to complete the land acquisition process.
The land acquisition process is likely to be resumed in the near future, according to official sources.
The land requirement of the company was scaled down from 4,004 acres to 2,700 acres after the company decided to establish an 8 million tonnes per annum capacity plant as against its initial plan 12 million tonnes per annum capacity.
The land use plan for the project was revised by excluding Dhinkia village after the agitation against land acquisition for the project was continued by the Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti.
Meanwhile, the Sangram Samiti and organisations supporting it had decided to organise demonstrations on Friday to oppose land acquisition.
On the other hand, the State Government had not been able to revise the MoU for the steel project though it had expired in June 2010 after completion of five years. The modalities for the revision of the MoU are being worked out, according to sources.