'MoU renewal with Posco-India by July end'

With several deadlines missed for the renewal of the MoU with Posco-India Ltd for setting up a mega steel plant in Paradip mainly due to the controversial iron ore export clause, the Orissa government expressed confidence the revised version would be inked by July end.

"I am confident the MoU with Posco-India will be renewed by end of July," Steel and Mines Minister Raghunath Mohanty told reporters admitting that the government had failed to meet previous deadlines.

Though the state government had earlier announced to complete the MoU renewal by June end, it failed to do so for certain reasons including the issue of iron ore export provision in the lapsed MoU, the minister said.

"Now both the steel and mines department and law department are throughly examining the matter relating to the iron ore export provision in the lapsed MoU," Mohanty said adding that the tenure of the previous MoU expired on June 21, 2010.

The state government had signed a MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) with Posco-India, a subsidiary of South Korean steel major Posco, on June 22, 2005. Though six years have elapsed since then, the company had not been able to acquire an inch of land for the purpose of setting up the Rs 52,000 crore mega steel project near Paradip.

The provision of iron ore export by the steel major had been questioned by many, including Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh.

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