BJD MPs meet Jaitley, seek Centre’s help on Posco issue

Bhubaneswar: A day after the South Korean Steel major POSCO signed an MoU with Uttam Galva for an integrated steel plant in Maharashtra, 10 BJD MPs from Odisha today met Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, seeking the Centre’s intervention into the matter.

“The Finance Minister has assured us to look into the matter,” BJD MP Kalikesh Singhdeo told a private news channel in Delhi.

As the Posco project in Odisha was put on hold, the state government said it had already sought the Centre’s intervention to implement the Rs 52,000-crore project proposed by the South Korean major.

“We have no information about the development (Posco deal with Uttam Galva) and I came to know about it from the media only. Our government is constantly in touch with the Centre on the company’s project in Odisha,” Industries minister Debi Prasad Misha told reporters here.

“However, I believe that since there is a huge scope of automobile industry in western India, the company might have shown interest to cater to that need by setting up a plant in Maharastra,” added Mishra.

Steel and Mines Minister Prafulla Kumar Mallick said the Chief Secretary of Odisha has already written a letter to Cabinet Secretary requesting him to convene a meeting at the level of Cabinet Secretariat or the PMO to sort out the issues relating to Posco’s project expeditiously.

Claiming that the state government has provided all required assistance to Posco, industries minister Mishra said “Now the ball is in the Centre’s court. It should ensure raw material linkage to Posco’s proposed 12 mtpa steel facility in Odisha.”

Asked whether Posco was withdrawing from Odisha, Mishra said: “I have no such information.”

He said the state is ready to provide raw materials to Posco through state PSU Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC).

State BJP president K V Singhdeo, however, blamed the state for non-implementation of the Posco project though the company signed an MoU in 2005.

“The state government should not blame Centre. It should take up the matter at appropriate level,” Singhdeo said.

Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) President Prasad Harichandan blamed Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for non-implementation of the Posco project.