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POSCO to return land to Odisha govt. (Relevant for GS Prelims and GS Mains Paper II and III)

S. Korean steel major had acquired land for plant in Paradip
South Korean steel giant POSCO has offered to return the land it had acquired for a mega steel plant proposed more than a decade ago in Odisha.

Since POSCO had not started construction, as per conditions in the lease agreement, the company requested the government to take the land back.

Background
In June 2005, the company had signed a memorandum of understanding with the State government.

It had proposed setting up a 12 million tonne per annum plant at an estimated investment of Rs. 52,000 crore near the port town of Paradip.

Back then, this was the largest Foreign direct investment (FDI) for the country.

Protests by locals
Locals, however, had protested against the acquisition of 4,004 acres of land. They feared that the industrial project would hit livelihood opportunities based on sustainable betel farming and fishing.

Why the company did not carry out its operations?
In January 2015, an amendment to the Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation Act made it necessary for POSCO to go through the auction route to get iron ore mines. Since there was uncertainty around the company securing a mine, it started folding operations in the State.



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