India on Monday told South Korea that it would review the delays that had kept hanging the implementation of the $12 billion POSCO project, the biggest foreign direct investment (FDI) into India in the Jagatsinghpur district of Orissa.
The project with an annual capacity of 12 million tonne per annum was proposed in 2007 and has been faced with controversies, unending delays and opposition at the local level from fishermen and tribals.
“The project is being implemented at the highest level. Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh himself is monitoring the project which is being followed up by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO),’’ Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma told journalists on the sidelines of the CII organised Global Partnership Summit-2013 here. The issue came up for discussion during Mr. Sharma’s meeting with South Korean Minister of Knowledge and Economy, Sukwoo Hong.
Mr. Sukwoo also informed Mr. Sharma about the candidature of Taeho Bark of South Korea for the post of Director General WTO.
The National Green Tribunal had asked the Ministry of Environment and Forests to make a fresh review of the clearance accorded to the project with specific reference to the observations/apprehensions raised by the Review Committee. The project has been caught in controversies over land acquisition and environmental clearances. The issue was even raised by the South Korean President, Lee Myung Bak during his last bilateral meeting with Dr. Singh. POSCO is also in discussion with state-run Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) for a 3 million tonne capacity steel plant in Jharkhand (near SAIL’s Bokaro Steel Plant) on a 50-50 joint venture (JV) basis.
Mr. Sharma also informed that a delegation of Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airlines would be meeting him on January 31 to hold discussions on various issues but refused to divulge what is on the agenda. "Yes, a delegation of Etihad officials is meeting me on January 31.Will let you know the details after the meeting,’’ he remarked. Etihad is learnt to be in talks for buying 25 per cent stake in domestic carrier Jet Airways which would enable it to increase if presence in India and Asia.
In related developments, Mr. Sharma held bilateral talks with his counterparts from South Korea, UAE and Slovania.