Odisha has already transferred 500 acres to Posco for setting up the proposed plant, which has an original capacity target of 12 mt, involving an investment of Rs52,000 crore
Mumbai: After seven years of delay, the Posco steel project will start rolling soon as Odisha has started transferring around 1,500 acres to the Korean steel major to set up an 8-million tonne plant in the first phase, Odisha Steel and Mines Minister Raghunath Mohanty said on Wednesday, reports PTI.
However, the minister did not specify a time frame under which the land transfer will be completed.
Meanwhile, the state will also soon sign a tri-partite agreement with Posco India and Posco to revive the memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Korean steel major, which had lapsed since June 2010, the minister said.
"Transfer of around 1,500 acres is underway and we hope the tri-partite agreement with the steel company will be signed soon," Mohanty told PTI over phone from Bhubaneswar.
Earlier, after consulations with the government, Posco had decided to reduce its land requirement to 2,700 acres from over 4,000 acres.
The state has already transferred 500 acres to the company for setting up the proposed plant, which has an orignal capacity target of 12 mt, involving an investment of Rs52,000 crore, making it the sinlge largest FDI in the country.
In view of the land scarsity, the company has also decided to build an 8-mt plant in the first phase and scale it up to 12 mt later.
"They have agreed to build an 8 mt steel plant in the first phase, which will be done in two tranches of 4 mt each," Mohanty said.
The minister said Posco has also agreed to three major conditions which include employing a certain percentage of local people in the proposed plant, setting up downstream industries near the project and swapping of iron ore within the country.
"The steel company has agreed to swap the iron ore within the state or within the country," the minister said.
Posco had earlier asked for swapping high alumina content iron ore found in the Khandadhar mines, which is in legal row now, with better quality ore from abroad.
Mohanty also said the boundary wall work has already started in the project site and full-fledge work will start soon.
"Construction of boundary wall work has already started and we hope that after the tri-partite agreement and the land transfer, full fledge work will begin at the proejct site," he said.
The Rs52,000-crore Posco project has been stuck for the past seven years, on the back of local opposition to land acquisition coupled with pending environment approvals.
However, the minister said local opposition to the project is fading and the long-pending project will soon start.
"I think, after slashing of land requirement and iron ore swapping issue, local opposition to the project is fading," Mohanty said.
There have been demands to slap higher duty on overseas power gear to provide a level-playing field for domestic manufacturers, mainly from China
New Delhi: The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) on Wednesday asked the Power Ministry to float a new Cabinet note on increasing duty on import of cheap equipment, mainly from China, and to provide a level-playing field to domestic manufacturers, reports PTI.
"The Power Ministry will send to the Cabinet a new note to impose (higher) duty on imported power equipment, and it is expected to be taken up in the next 20 days," an official said after attending the PMO meeting.
The meeting, which was chaired by Principal Secretary in the PMO, Pulok Chatterjee, was attended by officials of the ministries of finance, power and heavy industries.
Currently, equipment imported for projects of less than 1,000 MW capacity attract 5% customs duty, while those above that are exempt.
There have been demands to slap higher duty on overseas power gear to provide a level-playing field for domestic manufacturers, mainly from China.
In May, the Cabinet had deferred the proposal to raise the duty on imported power gear.
On the quantum of duty on imported power equipment, the official said, "The Power Ministry will take call in regard to quantum of the duty."
Earlier, the ministers of power and commerce had suggested 19% levy, while the Heavy Industry Ministry has recommended a duty of 14%.
The three ministries had differences on the quantum of basic customs duty that can be slapped on overseas power gear.
While the Power Ministry has pitched for five% customs duty, Commerce and Heavy Industry Ministries are seeking 15% and 10%, respectively.
A committee headed by Planning Commission Member Arun Maira in its report had suggested imposition of 14% levy -- with a customs duty of 10%.
Meanwhile, the Co-ordinating Committee of Secretaries (CCoS) had pitched for 19% levy on imported power gear including five% customs duty.