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The curious case of POSCO

In May 2013 the Supreme Court set aside a decision of Odisha High Court that had annulled a recommendation for preferential allotment of iron ore mines in favour of the South Korean steelmaker POSCO. The apex court has directed the Central government to study the issue of giving iron ore mining licence to POSCO on the basis of the recommendation of the state government take a final call.

POSCO is the fourth-largest steel producer in the world and since the signing of the MOU in 2005 has waited eight long years to get necessary clearances for land and an iron ore mining licence to start work on the 12 million tonne per annum capacity plant in Odisha.

Now that land acquisition is nearing completion, renewal of the MoU by the state government and a speedy disposal of POSCO issue by the Centre would send the right message to the international investors. Dr. Manmohan Singh tried to intervene personally and speed up the process in the past and now it’s a wonderful opportunity for the PMO to straighten the record of centre-state relationship by expeditious resolution of POSCO case. Hope the calm, cool and collected Sardar is listening!

The Special Economic Zones of Vedanta Aluminium Ltd (VAL) at Jharsuguda and the Infovalley IT SEZ, on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar are seeking extension of their status and are likely to receive the necessary nod. Infovalley, spread over 600 acres of land, is developed jointly by IDCO and IT major, Infosys, who have been allotted 45 acres of land. As per the estimates of the state IT department the Infovalley project is set to attract investments worth Rs 4000 crore.

 

OPL-II, successfully conducted

In May Odisha Cricket Association (OCA) successfully conducted the second edition of Odisha Premier League (OPL) T20 matches. The first edition in 2011 was a success yet mostly due to vigilance and income tax raids the franchise owners backed off last year and the show could not continue.  This year OCA decided to revive the process by putting its own money. OCA set aside Rs 2 crore to stage the popular league. Going by the response it received, it has been a moderate  success.

Moneywise OPL is still a humble pie! Men of matches pocketed Rs 5000 each and the man of the tournament Rs 25,000. The winner team got prize money of Rs 3 lakh, the runner-up Rs two lakh and the third placed team Rs 1 lakh. Compared to the money spent on IPL these are small changes. Let’s hope OPL would also rise to its rightful height, someday!

 

Coal shortage forces NALCO to slowdown

National Aluminum Company (Nalco) has a daily operating requirement of about 16,000 tonnes of coal. Now the supply has come down to 10,000 due to disruptions in supply from Bharatpur mine in Odisha. The death of a casual worker has alarmed the authorities and now they have closed down that mine since 21 April 2013.  This along with the falling price of aluminum in the global market forced Nalco to shut 200 of its 823 pots.

    Last year, Nalco, India’s  third largest aluminum maker, produced 403,000 tonnes of aluminum in its sole smelter at Angul in Odisha. The company expects to bridge the fall in output this quarter by ramping up production in the remaining quarters.

    Odisha has about a quarter of proven deposits in India. Populist measures have kept global mining majors miles away from these deposits and such avoidable accidents keep on happening with striking regularity. Such policy paralysis force poor laborers to work in unhygienic and dangerous conditions under the mining mafia and that in turn results in sub-optimal exploitation of natural resources and poor value addition. That coupled with the situation at hand with Nalco reminds us of the famous lines of the Ancient mariner: Water, water, everywhere, not a drop to drink. ...

 

Extension of 2 SEZs on the cards

The Special Economic Zones of Vedanta Aluminium Ltd (VAL) at Jharsuguda and the Infovalley IT SEZ, on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar are seeking extension of their status and are likely to receive the necessary nod. Infovalley, spread over 600 acres of land, is developed jointly by IDCO and IT major, Infosys, who have been allotted

45 acres of land. As per the estimates of the state IT department the Infovalley project is set to attract investments worth Rs 4000 crore.

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