"The present Prime Minister and the previous Prime Minister have assured the company and the South Korean leaders that the Centre would support the steel project. It is like making a commitment to the South Korea," Odisha's Steel and Mines minister Prafulla Kumar Mallick told reporters.
    
Voicing displeasure over Tomar's statement, Mallick said the state government had already submitted all requisite documents to the Centre much before the ordinance on MMDR amendment in order to ensure prospecting license in favour of POSCO-India on Khandadhar iron ore reserve.
    
Tomar had on Thursday said that all firms will have to participate in the auction process to get a mining lease. "Even I will have to bid to get a mining lease," he had said, putting a lid on Odisha's demand that commitments should be honoured under the new dispensation to avoid sending a wrong signal to international investor community.
    
He said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi also had assured the company of support in the biggest foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country.
    
"We want that the Centre should accept our recommendation and respect its and our international commitment," the Minister said.
    
Posco was previously promised by the Odisha government that the Khandadhar iron ore mine would be given to feed its proposed mega steel plant. But the actual allocation never happened due to delay in regulatory approvals.

The company, which signed an MoU with the state government in 2005, failed to undertake the project as it could not get required land and also the raw material linkage in time.
    
The Centre, however, maintained that now, with the MMDR Amendment Ordinance 2015 is in public domain, it is not possible to offer the Khandadhar mine to POSCO on preferential basis.
    
The Centre blamed the Odisha government for its failure to meet the technical requirements before the Ordinance as was sought by the Centre on notified and non-notified areas of the block spread over 2,500 hectares which the state government had decided to offer to POSCO in 2009.
    
Odisha BJP president and former minister K V Singhdeo, however, countered the state government. "It is a bid of the state government to hide its mistakes. The state has not renewed the MoU with POSCO and also failed to provide required land to POSCOto set up its proposed 12mtpa steel mill near Paradip," Singhdeo pointed out.
     
Seeking a clarification from Odisha government on its alleged inability to acquire land for POSCO during last 10 years, Singhdeo said, "The state is trying to throw blame ball to the Centre's court. It is clearly an attempt to escape from its responsibility."

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