The much-delayed $12 billion Posco steel project in Odisha is set to be operational in the next few weeks and granting of mining concession to the South Korean firm was in an advanced stage of processing, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Thursday.
Singh made the announcement after holding extensive talks with President of South Korea Park Geun-hye. "I am happy that the large-scale POSCO steel project in Odisha is set to be operational in the coming weeks, following the revalidation of its environmental clearance. Grant of
mining concession for the project is also at an advanced stage of processing," Singh said.
The Posco project, the biggest foreign direct investment (FDI) to India, was marred in controversies and issues like land acquisition and delay in clearances since its announcement in 2005.
Last week, the government granted the steel project the much awaited environment clearance with conditions, ending eight years of wait. The conditions include Posco spending 5 per cent of its investments ($600 million) on "enterprise social commitments" and delinking the steel project from the plans to have a captive port.
"I conveyed to PresidentPark our hope that this project will confirm that economic growth and environmental protection can go hand in hand," the Prime Minister said.
The company, which had originally announced to construct a mega steel plant of 12 million tonnes per annum capacity, has now divided it into 3 equal phases of 4 MTPA each due to land acquisition issues and delays in approvals.
The South Korean President expressed happiness over clearances given to the project and hoped that the economic ties between the two countries will witness further growth.
Singh said both sides are exploring the possibility of establishing a Korean Industrial Park in India.
He said it was agreed to set up a CEOs Forum comprising captains of industry and commerce from both countries to provide with new ideas for deepening the economic collaboration.