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Environment ministry's expert team visits Posco plant site in Odisha

A four-member expert team deputed by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has visited the site of Posco's proposed steel plant in Odisha.

IANS | August 21, 2012 | Updated 14:32 IST

A four-member expert team deputed by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) on Tuesday visited the site of Posco's proposed steel plant in Odisha.

The team, led by former civil aviation secretary K. Roy Paul, will assess the impact of the South Korean steel major's project on environment, afresh, as the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in March suspended the environment clearance granted to the project by the ministry citing violation and asked for a fresh review.

"The team visited the project affected villages in Jagatsinghpur district," additional district magistrate Surijit Das told IANS.

The team is scheduled to attend a meeting of senior state officials at Bhubaneswar on Wednesday, he said.

The other members of the committee who have accompanied Paul include S.R. Wate, director of National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), R. Ramesh, Director of the National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM), and R.D. Singh, Director of the National Institute of Hydrology (NIH).

The Odisha government had inked a pact with Posco in 2005 for the 12 million tonnes per annum steel project near the port town of Paradip in the district of Jagatsinghpur, about 120 km from Bhubaneswar.

The $12 billion steel project, touted as the largest foreign investment in India, has, however, yet to make any significance progress due to local protests and regulatory hurdles.

It faced a major setback when the green tribunal suspended the environment clearance granted in January last year saying that the permission was accorded on the basis of a study done for a four million tonne per annum steel plant instead of 12 million tonnes.

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