labels: industry - general, steel
Posco knocks PMO''s doors news
19 September 2006

Korean steel major Posco has had enough. It wants the prime minister's office to help resolve a serious land crisis over its 12-million tonne steel plant in Orissa, reports CNBC-TV18.

"We will start the construction by April next year and by 2010, we will finish the first phase of construction," said Cho Soung-Sik, chairman and managing director, POSCO India.

The company wants to keep up the pressure on the government on land and a mining lease, in the face of protests from local farmers, social activists and politicians at the plant site in Paradeep.

"We do not want POSCO at all. It will destroy the agricultural land in the area and displace many people. If government wants to set up a steel plant they should do it themselves. Funds can easily be raised," said Rabi Ray, former speaker of the Lok Sabha.

In view of such protests Posco has already reduced its land requirement by 20 per cent. But only 1,135 of 4,000 acres have been acquired, 14 months after it signed an MOU with the government.

The company says the number of those displaced has come down to a fourth at 500 families. But the government is fighting, shy of using force to evict them after 13 people were killed in police firing at Tata's Kalinganagar site.

Orissa chief minister Navin Patnaik met Posco executives on Sunday where he is said to have told them that procedures have to be followed and large projects cannot be pushed through in a hurry.

The investment commission headed by Ratan Tata is also taking an interest in seeing the project through. But in view of the magnitude of the project, Posco does not seem to prefer any changes.

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Posco knocks PMO''s doors