Did PMO Lean On Minister To Soften Stand?
Finally, the country’s biggest foreign direct investment has got the green signal.
The environment ministry on Monday gave its clearance to the Rs 50k crore Posco integrated steel plant in Orissa on Monday, relenting on its tough insistence on absolute compliance with environment laws.
Environment minister Jairam Ramesh’s order sidestepped several adverse reports on the project.
It is learnt to have been influenced by the PMO, which felt that a setback to the steel plant would hurt the country’s reputation as a destination for mega investments. Ramesh put 60 new conditions on the project, though—28 for the steel plant and 32 for the captive port but these are unlikely to be high obstacles for the Korean promoters.
The PMO leaned hard on Ramesh to find a way out for the Korean project stuck in the pipeline for five years, sources said. The South Korean government had approached the Manmohan Singh government to clear the way for the steel plant being set up at Jagatsingpur in Orissa. Orissa’s chief minister Naveen Patnaik had also lobbied hard for the posco plant. Annual production of steel scheduled for 120 lakh M T. Really very big investment in one stroke from a foreign country.