The Odisha government said it has already acquired 2,100 acres of land for the Posco steel project.
The government, through its nodal land acquisition agency - Odisha Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (Idco), is hopeful of acquiring additional 600 acres for the project in the next four months.
Posco India which had proposed a 12 million tonne per annum (mtpa) steel plant near Paradip in coastal Odisha, had sought at least 2,700 acres of land to start construction on an eight mtpa plant. The proponent would later expand capacity to 12 mtpa on receipt of its full land requirement of 4,004 acres.
"Idco has already acquired 2,100 acres of land. Of this, 546 acres have been already handed over to Posco. The rest 1,554 acres is ready to be handed over to the company. The balance 600 acres is expected to be acquired within the next four months. After that, Idco will be in a position to hand over this land," the state government stated in its latest status report prepared for the $12 billion project, billed as the country's single biggest FDI.
The status report on the Posco project was to be scrutinised at a meeting of an inter-departmental ministerial committee of the Union government on April 23. This is a preparatory meeting for the second joint committee meeting at the ministerial level scheduled in Seoul next month.
Posco India needed 4,004 acres of land in all. The land was to be acquired in eight villages - Nuagaon, Dhinkia, Noliasahi, Gobindpur, Polang, Bayanalkandha, Bhuyanpal and Jatadhar.
The state government admitted that law and order problems at the project site and delay in obtaining approval of forest diversion from the Union ministry of environment & forest (MoEF) impeded progress in project implementation.
While according approval of forest diversion for 2,959 acres of forest land, MoEF did not appreciate the swapping clause of the original MoU (memorandum of understanding) signed with the steel major that expired in June 2010. Meanwhile, Posco India has agreed to abandon its ore swapping plans.
Posco had proposed to swap low-grade iron ore from Odisha with high-grade ore from elsewhere in the country, for blending purposes, after diluting its earlier plan to export low-grade ore from the deposits allotted to it and import an equal quantity of high-grade raw material from Brazil. But the Odisha government, through a recent circular, has disallowed all forms of ore swapping, whether in the country or abroad, for steel projects in the state.