Millennium Post

Must respect commitments to global firms: Odisha to Centre

Odisha government on Friday said it would like the Centre to accept its recommendations in favour of Posco and termed Union Minister Narendra Singh Tomar’s statement that the South Korean steel major too must participate in bidding in order to get mining lease, as “going back from international commitment”.

“The present Prime Minister and the previous Prime Minister have assured the company and the South Korean leaders that the Centre would support the steel project. It is like making a commitment to the South Korea,” Odisha’s Steel and Mines minister Prafulla Kumar Mallick told reporters.

Voicing displeasure over Tomar’s statement, Mallick said the state government had already submitted all requisite documents to the Centre much before the ordinance on MMDR amendment in order to ensure prospecting license in favour of Posco-India on Khandadhar iron ore reserve. Tomar had on Thursday said that all firms will have to participate in the auction process to get a mining lease.

“Even I will have to bid to get a mining lease,” he had said, putting a lid on Odisha’s demand that commitments should be honoured under the new dispensation to avoid sending a wrong signal to international investor community. “This is high time Centre should accept state’s recommendation and fulfil its international commitment. As the recommendation in favour of Posco was made much before the Centre’s ordinance on auction of non-coal mines, the Centre should spare the foreign investor from the bidding process,” Mallick said.

He said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi also had assured the company of support in the biggest foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country.

Stating that the state government had also made international commitment to Posco while signing MoU in 2005, Mallick said Odisha would again take up the matter with the Centre.

“We want that the Centre should accept our recommendation and respect its and our international commitment,” the minister said. Posco was previously promised by the Odisha government that the Khandadhar iron ore mine would be given to feed its proposed mega steel plant. But the actual allocation never happened due to delay in regulatory approvals.
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