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Centre refuses in-principle approval to Posco SEZ

In a recent meeting, the Board of Approval for SEZs said it will not consider Posco's request for an extension until the state government comes up with a time-line for the project.

, ET Bureau|
Dec 06, 2012, 04.00 AM IST
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In a recent meeting, the Board of Approval for SEZs said it will not consider Posco's request for an extension until the state government comes up with a time-line for the project.
In a recent meeting, the Board of Approval for SEZs said it will not consider Posco's request for an extension until the state government comes up with a time-line for the project.
NEW DELHI: The Centre has refused to extend the in-principle approval given to South Korean steelmaker Posco for its proposed 53,000-crore multi-product special economic zone in Odisha.

In a recent meeting, the Board of Approval for SEZs said it will not consider Posco's request for an extension until the state government comes up with a time-line for the project.

"The government has extended its approval to Posco India's proposed multi-product SEZ for much longer than usual," a member of the board told ET.

"We now want some definite indication from the state government that it is convinced that the project would be implemented within a specified time-frame. We will not extend the in-principle approval till we have heard from the Odisha government."

The Board of Approval, which is headed by the commerce secretary, is the apex body for clearing SEZ proposals.

The Centre had given in-principle approval for setting up a multi-product SEZ to Posco's Indian arm in 2006. Spread over 1,620 hectares, the SEZ was to come up in Odisha's coastal district of Jagatsinghpur.

As much of the land needed to build the SEZ is in and around a forest area, the company faced problems in securing the necessary clearances.

The in-principle approval for the project was exdended for a year each in 2010 and 2011 due to non-availability of land with the company, but the validity of the last extension expired on October 25 this year.

"Posco India is still struggling to acquire the minimum land of 1,000 hectares required for the SEZ although some non-forest land has been leased to the company by the Odisha Industrial Infrastructure Corporation (lDCO). Rest of the land is yet to be handed over to the company," a commerce department official pointed out.

The development commissioner of Falta special economic zone wrote to IDCO, the lessor of the land, and the state industrial department seeking their views on the project before the board of approval meeting that took place on November 23.

The proposal submitted by Posco for extension of the in-principle approval did not give any specific timeline for completion of the project or when it hoped to get the minimum required land.

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