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Posco gets clearance to build Orissa steel plant

Bhubaneswar: South Korean steel major Posco has got final clearance from the Ministry of Environment and Forests for acquiring forest land in Orissa for its $12 billion steel plant project, a company official said on Friday.

"We have received final forest clearance from the ministry," Posco-India General Manager (External Relation) Simanta Mohanty told IANS.

He said the ministry gave the clearance on Wednesday.

Posco, one of the world's biggest steel makers, signed a deal with the state government in June 2005 to set up the steel plant near the port town of Paradeep in the coastal district of Jagatsinghpur, some 100 km from here, by 2016.

The steel maker acquired about 4,004 acres of land for its project, of which 2,900 acres was forest land. Mohanty said the company has already deposited Rs 105 crore with the state government towards compensatory afforestation.

Thanking the central and the state government for extending consistent support to the project, he said the company is committed to creating a green belt of two million trees in the project area.

"We are ready to commence work any time after land is handed over to us," he said.

The Posco project in Orissa has already had a delay of more than two years due to protests by local residents.