April 22, 2007
Posco is not leaving
Then: Will India have to bid adieu to Rs 52,000 crore? If Posco is indeed getting more despondent by the day on account of delays in getting approvals for its proposed 12-million tonne steel plant in Orissa, that may well be the case. However, days after the reported threat of the world's fourth-largest steel maker to review investments in India, the South Korean steel giant appears to have changed its mind. "Posco is very serious and committed about the Orissa project. We've already paid the money for 1,135 acres (of the 4,004 acres needed), and as soon as possession is given we'll start work," a Posco India spokesman told BT. Posco had signed the MoU with the Orissa government in June 2005. However, in the wake of stiff resistance from locals at its project site in the Jagatsinghpur district, and delays in awarding mining lease, the company reportedly started contemplating a shift to Vietnam. That plan may have been shelved, for now. The Orissa government had agreed to give Posco a lease to mine 600 million tonnes of iron ore. But permission has yet to come from the Centre, which is reviewing the country's 49-year-old mining laws.
Now: Posco's project in Orissa is yet to get off the ground. Since 2008, its efforts to acquire 438 acres of private land, out of the total 4,004 acres approved for the project, have been mired in an unceasing cycle of local protests.