It is still a long way for South Korean firm Posco’s multi-billion dollar steel plant in Odisha which got environmental clearance by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF). The project may not take off as the National Green Tribunal (NGT) had put a stay in May 2013 on land acquisition by the plant following a petition filed by an activist Prafulla Samantray. The case is scheduled to come up for hearing in NGT on Monday.
The steel plant project, which is India’s biggest foreign direct investment, is pending since 2006 on environmental grounds. MoEF had given forest clearance to the project but the Odisha government is yet to issue an official order for it.
“Posco can’t go ahead with the project as yet as the case is pending with NGT. As per the forest law, work cannot be started in the non-forest area till it gets forest clearance too,” advocate Ritwick Datta, who is fighting the case against Posco in NGT, told dna.
The South Korean firm has already expressed happiness over the environmental clearance stating that they have no issues spending 5% ($600 million) over social commitment as a condition for clearance.
The project was cleared by M Veerappa Moily-led MoEF only because the steel plant project was delinked from the port project.
The land required for the project is around 4,004 acres, but the Odisha Government so far has acquired 2700 acres, which was allotted to the company to start the project. But much of the work can only begin only after the complete environmental nod.