23 Oktober 2007
S. Korea's POSCO to push India investment

South Korean steel giant POSCO remains committed to its US$42-billion investment plan in India despite protests by local residents and politicians, company officials said Monday.

POSCO's plan to buid a steel production hub in India's eastern state of Orissa the biggest foreign direct investment in the country has hit a snag due to protests from locals afraid of losing their land.

A.B. Bardhan, a senior Indian communist leader, warned Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Friday against any forced land acquisition in Orissa for POSCO, sparking speculation that the firm may move elsewhere.

"We are not considering relocating the proposed steel plant," Yeon Kyung-Heum, an official of POSCO's public relations office, told AFP.

"There exist local protests to our investment plan but we will keep persuading the protesters to accept the project, even if it may take time."

Construction is set to begin early next year and production is set to start in 2011. But much of the land needed for the project has yet to be secured.

Tensions have grown among thousands of residents facing eviction from the 4,004 acres (1,600 hectares) of coastal district earmarked for the plant. Earlier this month protesters briefly kidnapped four POSCO employees in the second such incident this year.

In his letter to the Indian premier, Bardhan said the villagers' opposition to the project was justified and acquiring the land by force would lead to a "bloodbath," according to the Press Trust of India.

Sumber : The Jakarta Post (AFP), 23 October 2007

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