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Posco gets final clearance
The Environment Ministry gives final clearance to Posco with conditions including no export of raw materials and regeneration of equivalent amount of forest lands by the South Korean steel giant. Orissa will now divert 3,100 acres of forest to Posco.

Posco Steel Project, India's largest FDI project which has been hanging fire for over five years, finally got green nod on Monday from the Environment Ministry with certain conditions including the one that it should not export raw material from the proposed plant.

Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh granted approval to Orissa Government for diversion of forest land to the South Korean company which plans USD 12 billion project at Jagatsinghpur after being satisfied with the assurances from the state government.

"...In view of the state government's latest communication of April 29, final approval is accorded to the state government for diversion of 1253 hectares of forest land in favour of Posco," the Minister said in a statement in New Delhi.

"Posco would also bear the cost of regeneration of an equivalent amount of open, degraded land in a district to be determined and indicated by the state Government," said Ramesh, who had given initial clearance to the company in January on certain conditions including ensuring of tribal rights and compensatory afforestation.

Observing that the MoU signed between Orissa Government and Posco in 2005 had expired last year and "has yet to be renewed," the Minister said, "I would expect that the revised MoU between the state and Posco would be negotiated in such a manner that exports of the raw material are completely avoided."

He said the expired MoU had provisions for the export of iron ore "which made me deeply uncomfortable with this project."

Posco hailed the decision and said it expects to renew "shortly" its pact with Orissa government for building 12 million tonnes (MT) steel plant steel plant while assuring no exports of any iron ore from there.

"We hail Centre's decision to grant us clearance and expect to renew our agreement shortly for the 12 million tonne (MT) plant with the Orissa government that expired last year," Posco India Vice President Vikas Sharan told the news agency.

Reacting to the development, Orissa government said it would take 'appropriate action' on Posco project after receiving the order of the Environment Ministry.

Clearing the decks for the Project, Ramesh noted that the environment and forest clearance for Posco project had generated huge interest both in India and abroad.

Maintaining that the laws on environment and forests must be implemented seriously, he said, "In this case, the 60 conditions imposed as part of my decision of January 31, 2011 provide a package of measures to ensure that the project will not be detrimental from an ecological and local livelihoods points of view."

 

Source: DD NEWS