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National Green Tribunal (NGT) paves way for Posco project #Odisha #News

South Korean steel major Posco on Friday crossed a major hurdle for setting up its proposed 12MTPA greenfield steel mill near Paradip in Jagatsinghpur district with National Green Tribunal (NGT) asking the Odisha government to decide on the tree felling case at the plant site on its own.posco

Highly placed sources said, the tribunal has asked the state government to take a decision to this effect as per Forest Conservation Act.

In May last, the green panel had ordered a status quo on tree and vine felling on the plant site until a decision is taken on its lapsed environmental clearance.

Acting on a plea filed by activist Prafulla Samantray, NGT had thrown out the 2011 conditional clearance and had asked for a review.

Now that the panel has instructed the state government to decide on the matter, the project construction work is expected to take off soon, industry analysts feel, given that the MoEF has recently granted the environmental clearance to the steel plant by delinking it from the proposed captive port project.

Besides, soon after the environment approval, the state government has also recommended the Centre to grant prospective license (PL) for Khandadhar mines in Sundergarh district to Posco.

Official sources said, the state government would soon expedite the process to give an additional 1,000 acres of land to Posco’s steel project to start the ground breaking ceremony for the unit.

Stating that the state government has already handed over 1,703 acres of land for the Rs 51,000 crore project of the South Korean Steel Major, Posco had required 2,700 acres of land for setting up a 8 MTPA steel mill in the first phase.

The company, according to the MoU with the state government in 2005, required a total of 4,004 acres of land for establishing 12 MTPA steel plant near Paradip.