Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has urged the Centre to help resolve the deadlock over South Korean steel major Posco’s Rs 52,000-crore proposed project in the state.

"Met Union Finance Minister and discussed about special central assistance and increase in fund allocation under various schemes…

"Also, for a high level meeting to resolve the Posco issue," Patnaik tweeted after meeting Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in New Delhi yesterday.

Patnaik also demanded Rs 3,500-crore special assistance from the Centre to mitigate the drought condition in the state.

Posco, which proposed to set up a 12 MTPA greenfield mega steel project near Paradip, unanimously decided to put the project on hold.

The company also did not inform the state government about its decision.

Though an official level meeting between the Odisha government, Posco and the Steel Ministry was held earlier at Delhi to resolve the matter, it failed to yield any result.

"Therefore, Patnaik urged the Centre to organise another ministerial high-level meeting to resolve the matter," a Steel and Mines Department official said.

Billed as the highest FDI in the country, the project has not progressed much due to several reasons, including local protest over land acquisition, after the state government signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Posco in 2005.

Though the MoU for establishment of the steel plant has lapsed, it is yet to be renewed.

Meanwhile, the new Mines and Minerals Development Regulation (MMDR) Act passed in Parliament made provision of leasing iron ore mines through auction route instead of recommendation by the state government.

Though Odisha has offered to provide all assistance for the project, Posco is yet to spell out what it wants from the state government, Industries Minister Debi Prasad Mishra said.

Mishra said the Centre can always make a special provision to save the highest FDI project in the country.

Odisha’s Steel and Mines Minister Prafulla Kumar Mallik said that the raw material linkage for the project can be provided through Odisha Mining Corporation.