Special Correspondent

The function scheduled to take place on April 1 has been deferred

BHUBANESWAR: Steelmaker POSCO-India on Monday dropped its plan to perform the groundbreaking ceremony for the proposed 12 million tonne per annum mega steel project in Orissa on April 1.

The company had announced the date a few months ago after a meeting between Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Chief Executive Officer Ku Taek Lee of POSCO in New Delhi.

“As on today, certain procedural sanctions still remain to be obtained, despite the best efforts of the company. Under these circumstances, it would be difficult to perform the ‘ground breaking ceremony’ on April 1,” company spokesperson Shashanka Pattnaik said in a statement.

“The company is closely monitoring the situation and trying its best to get the necessary sanctions. This will pave way for holding the ‘ground breaking ceremony’ at the earliest,” Mr. Pattnaik added.

POSCO-India, however, claimed that the situation in the area earmarked for the proposed steel mill spread over three gram panchayats of the State’s coastal Jagatsinghpur district had become `conducive’.

The ground reality, however, was quite different. The socio-economic survey had faced some opposition from the villagers facing displacement.

POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti, however, said that it would organise the `Bikalpa Mahasamevesh’, a massive rally, in the proposed project site on April 1 as planned earlier.

“We are certainly going ahead with our plan to hold the rally on Utkal Divas to strengthen our agitation against displacement,” president of PPSS Abhay Sahoo told The Hindu over phone from the project area village Dhinkia.