POSCO rules out any change of mega steel plant site

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Bhubaneswar, Apr 10 (UNI) Notwithstanding the year-long agitation by the local people, South Korea Steel major POSCO today asserted that the mega steel plant will come up at its original site near Paradip.

POSCO India Director and head of Project Management Gee Woong Sung ruled out any change of the project site from Paradip to any other place in the state.

Mr Sung told newspersons here that there was no question of shifting the site.

'' Paradip is the best place for the proposed steel plant and we are comfortable with it, '' he clarified.

POSCO had signed an MoU with the Orissa Government in June 2005 to set up a 12 MTPA greenfield steel plant near Paradip in Jagatsinghpur District at an estimated investment of 12 billion U S dollars, the biggest FDI in the country.

The project had been facing stiff opposition from a section of the local people, unwilling to give up their agricultural land for the plant and demanded the government to shift the project site to somewhere else.

Mr Sung said the Orissa Government was making all efforts to ensure that the proposed plant be established at Paradip.

Reacting to the people's opposition to the plant, he said it was a worldwide phenomenon and not a new one. '' We will try to overcome all the difficulties. '' Transport and Commerce Secretary Priyabrata Patnaik said the date for the ground breaking ceremony of the POSCO plant would be decided only after the Central Empower Committee on Environment gave its verdict on April 25.

The Ministry of Environment had already recommended in favour of the plant.

Mr Patnaik said out of 4,400 acre needed for the project, which also included a captive port, only 1200 acre were forest land.

He said after the project was given forest clearance, compensatory afforestation would be taken up in Jagatsinghpur, Cuttack and Jajpur districts.

Mr Patnaik said 90 per cent of the local people favoured the POSCO project, while only 200 families were opposed to it.

The POSCO, he said, would announce an additional package, including some attractive offers like unemployment allowances and rehabilitation of the agricultural workers for the displaced people.

UNI BD-DP SJC KLC1730

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