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Court sets aside Orissa’s order on POSCO

Bhubaneswar, July 14 (IANS) The Orissa High Court Wednesday set aside the permission granted by the state government to South Korean steel major POSCO to prospect for iron ore in Sundergarh district, a lawyer said.

The Cuttack bench of the high court, 26 km from here, set aside the permission granted to POSCO last year for prospecting over 2,500 hectares in the Khandadhar hills in the district, a lawyer involved in the matter told IANS.

The court order came on a petition filed by Geomin Minerals and Marketing Pvt. Ltd, one of the several companies that had applied for a share in the Khandadhar mines’ resources, he said.

Geomin had challanged the government decision claiming that it had made the first application for a mining lease in the area way back in August 1991 which was not considered.

‘The court also directed the state government to dispose all pending applications of the petitioner within four months,’ the lawyer said.

POSCO had signed a memorandum of understanding June 22, 2005 for a 12 million tonne steel plant near the port town of Paradip, some 100 km from here, with an investment of $12 billion – the largest foreign direct investment in India.

The project, scheduled to be set up by 2016, has been delayed due to various reasons, including protests by local residents against land acquisition.

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