Pyarimohan Mohapatra accuses State government officials of acting as company’s agents.

Rajya Sabha MP from Odisha Pyarimohan Mohapatra on Saturday strongly opposed SEZ status and raw material commitment to the South Korean steel major Posco by the State government.

Mr. Mohapatra, who has been critical of Posco’s proposed Rs. 52,000 crore steel project since the signing of MoU in 2005, alleged that the state government was bent on setting up the mega steel plant near Paradip. “You are already under a cloud of suspicion because of your munificence towards Posco. Acting on the suggestions given above may help in removing such suspicion partially,” Mr. Mohapatra said in a letter to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, which was released to the press.

Alleging that state government officials acted like the foreign company’s agent instead of being public servants, he said force was used to facilitate setting up of the project.

Mr. Mohapatra, who is also president of Odisha Jan Morcha (OJM) and a rebel BJD leader said, “There is no ground for allowing SEZ status to Posco to give undue benefit to this foreign company vis-a-vis Indian steel projects.” He also said there was no justification to allow a captive port for Posco as Paradip Port was located barely 8 km from its proposed site.

Since no steel company has been allotted a specific quantity of iron ore in MoUs, Mr. Mohapatra said the provision for allocation of 600 million tons of iron ore to Posco may be replaced by the standard clause used in other MoUs. “In the renewed MoU, please ensure that there is a clause for technology transfer as otherwise the benefit of the FDI is not going to percolate on a long term basis,” he wrote.

The OJM leader also suggested the Chief Minister to add a provision of at least one lakh employment in the renewed MoU with Posco.

Mohapatra’s letter came at a time when the state government was about to complete the land acquisition for Posco’s Phase-I project.