Orissa seeks extension of in-principle nod for Posco SEZ

The Orissa government has sought extension of the in-principle approval granted by the Board of Approvals (BoA) under Union commerce ministry till October 25 this year for the multi-product Special Economic Zone (SEZ) proposed by Posco India at Paradeep.

The in-principle approval granted by the BoA earlier had expired on October 20, 2011.

Posco India’s Rs 52,000-crore green field steel project, billed as the country’s biggest FDI (foreign direct investment), had recently run into controversy over a company sponsored seminar at Paradip.

The company’s adamant stand to go ahead with the seminar ignoring the advice of the state-owned land acquisition agency, Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (Idco), not to hold such an event at the project site because of volatile atmosphere there, had left top government officials sulking.In a damage control exercise, Posco India authorities are likely to call on the top brass of the Orissa government soon to ease the strained relations between the two sides.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had recently stressed on implementing the Posco project with caution, hinting at the rift between the government and Posco India authorities.

Though the project has been battling protests over land acquisition from locals, government support for the big ticket project has been more or less un-stinted, be it facilitating land acquisition or pushing the company’s case for mining lease application.

However, the tirade of Posco chairman and managing director Yong-Won Woon against the state government at the Paradip seminar for not lifting the restriction imposed on the company officials for the site visit seems to have done the damage.

And with top government functionaries skipping the seminar, the guessing game relating to the project’s future has started among the different stakeholders of the project.

[Source – Business Standard]

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