Ground reality indicates january ‘deadline’ not feasible
STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE
Paradip, 6 December
Speculation over the foundation stone for the much delayed Posco steel plant project being laid next month has died down as local people here feel that it is highly unlikely.
Setting a date for the foundation stone laying ceremony is difficult but given the pace of progress of work and the activities of the district officers , it now seems unlikely that the ceremony will take place next month, said reliable sources.
The talk of a January deadline for the ceremony started ever since South Korean diplomat Joon-gyu Lee met Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in October and said he was hopeful of an early ground breaking ceremony. He had also stated that the South Korean President was scheduled to visit India in January and the foundation stone laying ceremony for the project could be lined up accordingly.
As on date the company has possession of 1703 acres of land as against its minimum requirement of 2700 acres. The company has repeatedly said it will start work only after it gets the entire 2700 acres need for the first phase of the plant. The National Green Tribunal which stayed felling of trees in the project site villages is yet to dispose the case.
The district administration has sought government permission to hand over the land to the company without felling the trees.
Reliable sources said both the district collector andSP will be on a foreign tour from 3 to 23 January. Hence, the foundation stone laying ceremony will not take place next month.
The district administration has acquired 2858 acres at the project site, out of which 2700 acres will be given to Posco with rest being earmarked for establishment of ancillary industries.
In fact, out of 4004 acres originally asked by Posco in three panchayats of Dhinkia, Nuagaon and Gadakujang, near port town of Paradip, only 438 acres is private land.