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Amid strong protest, Posco hints it may shift Orissa project

Posted by Indian Vanguard on October 22, 2007

Bhubaneswar:: South Korean steel major POSCO on Sunday said that it would prefer to relocate its proposed 12 MTPA greenfield plant near Paradip rather than see a ‘bloodbath’. Quoting the decision of the Board of Directors of the world’s fourth largest steel-maker, which reviewed the progress of its India project here on Saturday, its spokesman Sashank Patnaik said it would prefer to shift to some other place than invite a ‘bloodbath’ in setting up the Rs 52,000 crore project, also the country’s largest FDI.

The steel major’s comments on possible relocation of the unit came following CPI general secretary A B Bardhan’s letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in which he apprehended a ‘bloodbath’ if the state government took ‘repressive measures’ in acquiring land for Posco. “Posco would like to set up its project with cooperation from the local people. If they do not agree with the project, the company may think otherwise,” he said. “Posco had come here to do business and not for creating social disturbance like what happened at Kalinga Nagar in Orissa’s Jajpur district and Nandigram and Singur in West Bengal,” Patnaik said.

Though Posco was getting adequate support from both the Central and state governments, it put more emphasis on the goodwill of the local people who faced displacement due to establishment of the mega steel plant, Patnaik said. Earlier, Posco’s Chief Executive Officer Ku-Taek Lee, after holding discussions with Orissa chief minister Naveen Patnaik at Delhi, had announced that the company would start construction work at the site from April 1 next year.

The chief minister, who reiterated the Orissa government’s commitment to the project, said on Saturday, “we want a practical and peaceful solution to the issue.” He also expressed willingness for a dialogue with ‘anyone’ opposed to the project.

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