New Delhi: The Steel Ministry on Sunday said it will hold talks with the Odisha government for expediting South Korean major Posco's USD 12 billion steel project in the state.

"Whatever clearances are pending in relation to the Posco project, they are at the state level. The Steel Secretary will hold talks with the Chief Secretary, Odisha so that the Posco project is expedited," Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma said.

Posco had entered into a pact with the Odisha government in June, 2005 for setting up a 12 million tonne per annum (mtpa) steel mill at Jagatsingpur, involving an investment of USD 12 billion. However, the project could not take off for want of land acquisition and regulatory clearances.

It is also waiting for the environment nod after National Green Tribunal on March 30 had suspended the clearance granted to it on January 31, 2011. The tribunal directed the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to review it afresh.

Once the project gets green nod, Odisha government would transfer land to it, a state government official said, adding the state has already acquired 2,000 acres land for Posco.

"Of the 2,000 acres land acquired by the Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (IIDCO), 500 acres have already been transferred to the steel major," he said.

Posco initially needs an additional 700 acres of land to commence work on the much-delayed plant.

Meanwhile, Posco has scaled down the size of the proposed plant to eight mtpa and said that the plant capacity could be expanded to 12 mtpa. Posco had in last month said it would begin work by October this year. For 12 MTPA project, it requires 4,004 acres of land.


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