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Posco's Orissa projects get conditional green nod

Giving 2% of net profits every year to CSR among 60 new riders.


Our Bureau

New Delhi, Jan. 31

Posco's $12-billion project in Orissa received conditional clearance from the Ministry of Environment and Forests on Monday. The provisional nod comes nearly six years after the project was first announced.

The project, which entails building a 12-million-tonne-per-annum steel plant along with a captive power plant and a captive port, got the environment clearance with 28 additional conditions for the steel-cum-captive power plant and 32 additional conditions for the captive port.

The Environment Ministry has also asked for a pointed assurance from the Orissa Government that the project is in compliance with the Forest Rights Act, 2006 and that no person has lived in the forest area for 75 years, nobody is dependent on the forest or forest land for livelihood or in occupation of the land.

"Undoubtedly, projects such as that of Posco have considerable economic, technological and strategic significance for the country. At the same time, laws on environment and forests must be implemented seriously. In this case, the additional conditions provide a comprehensive package of measures to ensure that this project will not be detrimental from an ecological and local livelihood perspective," said Mr Jairam Ramesh, Minister of Environment and Forests, in his order.

The additional conditions for clearance of the steel-cum-captive power plant require Posco to devote 2 per cent of its annual net profit for corporate social responsibility (CSR) in the region where the project is located. The company will also need to sacrifice its water intake if there is a shortfall of water at the Jobra Barrage for irrigation purposes.

The South Korean steelmaker is ready to commit its resources for CSR activities in the region. "We will continue to work for the welfare of the local community, and plough back a part of earnings for CSR after the operations commence," said Mr G.W. Sung, Managing Director, Posco India.

Posco's project would be located on the north-western bank of the Jatadharmohan river creek in Orissa, 12 km south of the Paradip Port requiring a total of 1,620.496 hectares of which 1,253.225 hectares are forest land and would affect eight villages in Erasama block of Kujang Tehsil.

d.das@thehindu.co.in

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