The MoU with Posco India for its 12 million tonne steel project in Orissa will be renewed by July 10. The MoU, signed in June 2005, expired last year. The government is working on details to complete the renewal of Posco India’s MoU by July 10,” said state chief secretary BK Patnaik. Earlier, Patnaik had said the MoU would be renewed by June 30.
The MoU, which expired on June 23, 2010, requires to be renewed for the South Korean company to go ahead with the $12-billion project. Meanwhile, hectic parleys are on between the Orissa government and Posco India for signing the revised MoU for the project at Paradip in Jagatsinghpur district. Patnaik and Posco India managing director Gee-Woong Sung are constantly in touch to give final shape to the MoU.
Sources in the government said the South Korean company had agreed to almost all the changes suggested by the state government. The issues of iron ore swapping, job reservation for locals and water linkages from alternative sources have been resolved. On the other hand, the state government has agreed to provide government land at the rate of Rs 25,000 per acre instead of Rs 5 lakh per acre fixed in the Industrial Policy Resolution (IPR) of 2007.The government has also cleared Posco India’s proposal to change the configuration of the plant from four units of 3 million tonne modules to three units of 4 million tonne modules.
The sources said both the state government and Posco India are closely watching the development taking place at the site. The renewal of the MoU would be expedited once the land acquisition process picks up pace, the sources said. However, contrary to the expectation of the state government, the land acquisition process is not moving fast.
On Wednesday, the land acquisition team faced a violent situation in Nuagoan village when it tried to fell some trees. The villagers attacked the team and snatched away all the tree-cutting machines and other equipment from them.
The villagers of Nuagoan under the banner of United Action Committee (UAC) are also opposing the construction of the boundary wall. They are demanding that the boundary wall construction work given to one Bhagaban Mohapatra be given to someone from the village.
Twelve teams accompanied by six platoons of police had moved to the villages on Wednesday to cut trees.
While the pro-project UAC group are opposing the tree cutting, land levelling and boundary wall construction works, the anti-project Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti(PPSS) is continuing with its dharna at Gobindpur.