POSCO project gets environmental clearance
India’s Environment Ministry has given its conditional clearance for POSCO’s steel-cum-captive power project in Orissa which has been hanging in limbo for nearly six years. The Rs54,000-crore investment from the South Korean steel major is seen as one of the largest FDIs for any single project in India.
The Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoE&F) has imposed 28 additional conditions for the steel-cum-captive power plant and 32 additional conditions for the captive minor port to be built at Paradip in Jagatsinghpur district. The project will be built over 1621 hectares land of which about 1253 hectares is forest land. The integrated steel plant will have total capacity to produce 12 million tonnes per annum (with 4 million tonnes in the first phase).
Jairam Ramesh, Minister of State for Environment and Forests, said in a statement: “Undoubtedly, projects such as that of POSCO have considerable economic, technological and strategic significance for the country. At the same time, laws on environment and forests must be implemented seriously.”
Among the 28 additional conditions the most significant one are:
• The National Ambient Air Quality Standards issued by the MoE&F on 16th Nove, 2009 will be followed.
• Sustainability study of water requirement for the plant will be carried out by an institute of repute. Should there be a shortfall of water at the Jobra Barrage for irrigation purposes, the company will voluntarily sacrifice water intake for facilitating irrigation.
• The total green area within the plant will be 25% of its area as per the guidelines of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
• In addition to fulfilling the R&R obligations mandated by the state government’s package and while also implementing CSR-related programmes in the construction phase, 2% of net annual profit should be devoted to CSR in the region where the project is located.
For the captive minor port, the MoE&F has imposed 32 additional conditions. The significant conditions are:
• No Construction shall be undertaken in the ‘high erosion’ zone.
• Shoreline protection measures to counter erosion in the northern side of North Breakwater shall be undertaken.
• The shoreline shall be protected to ensure that no further erosion occurs on the northern side of the Northern Breakwater up to Paradip Port.
• POSCO shall ensure that no industrial activity shall be carried out within CRZ area.
• POSCO Shall submit detailed Marine Environment Conservation Plan.