India is concerned about the delays in clearance for the proposed $12 billion steel plant project in Odisha by South Korean firm Posco and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is personally monitoring the issue, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said Monday.
During a bilateral meeting with South Korean Knowledge Economy Minister Sukwoo Hong, Sharma assured a review of the project.
"We are concerned about the delays and will be conducting a review. The prime minister himself is monitoring the issue," Sharma said.
Sharma pointed out that Posco's proposed investment was the biggest foreign direct investment (FDI) proposal so far in India and the government was concerned over the delay.
The South Korean steel major had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in 2005 for 12 million tonnes per annum steel project near the port town of Paradip in Jagatsinghpur district, about 120 km from the state capital Bhubaneswar.
The steel project is yet to make any significant progress due to local protests and regulatory hurdles.
During the bilateral meeting with Sharma, Sukwoo raised the issue of delays in Posco project clearance.
"The Korean side raised the issue of delays in Posco project clearance, emphasizing the importance of the project for enhancing the economic ties between the two countries," according to an official statement released after the closed-door meeting of ministers.
Sukwoo also requested India to support the candidature of South Korean Trade Minister Taeho Bark for the post of director general of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
South Korea has nominated Bark as its candidate for the top job of the 157-member WTO as Pascal Lamy prepares to step down Aug 31 this year.
(Gyanendra Kumar Keshri can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)