The board of approval (BoA) is expected to consider a further extension for implementing a steel project by Posco India Pvt Ltd at its multi-product special economic zone (SEZ) near Paradip in Odisha.
The inter-ministerial BoA, chaired by commerce secretary S R Rao, will consider the request from Posco subsidiary Posco India Pvt Ltd at their meeting on 8 November.
The approval for Posco India setting up a Rs52,000-crore multi-product SEZ in Odisha lapsed on Thursday and the company has sought no-objection from the state government for extension of the time period by one year.
The state government in turn has forwarded Posco's request to the centre for the board of approval's consideration at its next meeting.
The state government is reported to have already completed the controversial land acquisition for Posco's project and work on the project was expected to start early next year, according to South Korean ambassador to India Joon-gyu Lee.
In all, the project requires 4,004 acres (over 1,620 hectares) of land for setting up the steel plant.
Stage I of the project, involving the setting up of an eight million tonne steel plant, will require 2,700 acres of land while stage-II, involving an addition of four million tonne steel plant, will require another 1,304 acres of land.
"The developer has applied for further extension of one year on the grounds that land is not encroachment free till date and that encroachment removal and compensation disbursement process is still going on," according to the agenda note of the BoA.
Posco-India Pvt Ltd had proposed setting up multi-product SEZ in an area of 1,620.496 hectares in Jagatsinghpur (Odhisa) and the proposal got government approval in 2006.
The developer, however, has not been successful in completing land acquisition for the project and has so far sought and been granted seven extensions.
The development commissioner of the Falta Special Economic Zone has recommended extension of in-principle approval by one year in "view of the fact that it is a project of promise for India and is also one of the largest FDI projects in India".
SEZ projects across the country are hamstrung by opposition to land acquisition by landowners who are mainly dependent on land for their livelihood.
Besides Posco, several other SEZ proposals, including those of Navi Mumbai SEZ, Unitech Infracon, TCS and Parsvnath Infra Ltd, have sought extension of time for completion of projects.
As many as 58 SEZ developers have also surrendered projects due to various reasons till 31 July.
Exports from SEZs, however, grew by about 31 per cent to Rs4,76,000 crore during 2012-13.