Union Minister of Steel Birendra Singh today said land acquisition problem was the one of the major factors for which the country's biggest FDI - the Rs 52,000 crore Posco project could not be implemented in Odisha. The minister also indicated that Odisha government's opposition to the NDA government's bid to amend the Land Acquisition Act, 2013, added to Posco's woes. "Land acquisition was a problem for the project. When Modiji govenrment came to power in 2014 it wanted to amend the Land Acquisition legislation of 2013. This could have speeded up land acquisition process.
I was the minister who piloted the amendment bill. But that was opposed by the state government," Singh told reporters while replying to questions on non-implementation of Posco project. The minister said that the NDA govenrment had to withdraw the amendment bill as it did not have adequate strength in Rajya Sabha. "And ultimately now if we talk of land acquisition, it is a state subject according to the concurrent list. The state government should have speeded up land acquisition," he said. The state government, however, blames the Centre's MMDR (Amendment) Act for which the Posco project could not be implemneted. As the new MMDR Act made it mandatory for all to come through the auction route to get mining linkage, Posco prefered not to proceed further, an official in the state steel and mines department said. Though Posco has not officially announced its withdrawal from the project, the South Korean steel major has already returned land to the state government it had taken for setting up its proposed 12 mtpa mega steel facility near Paradip.
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