"We will build the 12 million tonne per annum (MTPA) steel plant in Orissa in three phases. The first phase will be of 4 MTPA and we hope to begin work soon after Orissa government transfers land to us," Posco India Vice President Vikas Sharan told PTI.
Former Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh on May 2 had granted conditional clearance to the steel-to-port project at Jagatsinghpur with $12 billion (about Rs 54,000 crore) investment, billed as the country's largest FDI.
Land acquisition for the mega steel project was suspended in June in the face of stiff opposition from agitating villagers even as Orissa government launched ground activities for the project near Paradip.
However, the process of acquisition was resumed early this month. Posco, which initially required 4,004 acres of land reduced it to 3,719 acres after Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had announced that private land of Dhinkia village would be kept out of the project area.
The government has been able to acquire only half of the required land, as per information. Posco is also awaiting renewal of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Orissa as the earlier pact signed on June 22, 2005, had expired last year.
"The agreement is lying with the Orissa government and we are hopeful of renewal soon," Sharan said. The plant will be built on finex technology which uses low grade ore or fines in steel making.