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Security promise to Korean steel major

Bhubaneswar, Oct. 22: Chief minister Naveen Patnaik today said his government would provide adequate security support for construction of the plant on schedule.

Patnaik has remained undeterred by the rejection of his offer for talks and threatening by anti-displacement brigade not to allow land acquisition and construction of the proposed mega steel plant of South Korean steel maker Posco near Paradip.

“My government is there to support the Posco project, the biggest-ever FDI project in the country and see that it comes up on schedule,” said Patnaik. The chief minister’s assurance assumes significance in the backdrop of the threat by anti-Posco protesters not to allow land acquisition and construction of the plant to take place and the October 13 incident in which four senior Posco executives including three South Koreans were abducted and held hostage for seven hours.

Posco, the fourth largest steel manufacturer in the world, had signed an MoU with the Orissa government in June 2005 to set up a 12 –million tonne steel plant near Paradip with an estimated investment of $12 billion.

However, the project has been behind the schedule by over one year due to failure of the state administration to acquire land owing to stiff resistance by the locals and delay in grant of iron ore mines lease.

This had given rise to speculation that the South Korean firm may back out.

The chief minister, however, said that members of the Posco board of directors had told him at a recent meeting in New Delhi that the ceremony for the project would be held on April 1, 2008, that coincides with the 40th anniversary of the company as well as the foundation day of Orissa state.

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