Posco blues not to deter South Korean investment in India: Envoy

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Bhubaneswar, April 8 (IANS) While the proposed $12 billion project of South Korean steel major Posco in Odisha is yet to see the light of the day after a decade, South Korean Ambassador to India Cho Hyun on Friday said the country wants to invest in other sectors in India.

“Last month, I met a number of our businessmen during a summit in South Korea. I encouraged them to invest in India,” said the Korean ambassador after holding a meeting with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik here.

“Discussed investments & trade opportunities in #Odisha with Korean Ambassador Mr. Cho Hyun,” tweeted Patnaik after the meet.

However, the Posco project did not figure in the meeting, said a state government official.

“It is up to the company (Posco) whether it wants to set up its project or not. Korea has many other things to offer and not just Posco. We should not only focus on Posco here,” the envoy told reporters.

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The steel project, billed as the largest foreign direct investment (FDI) in India, is facing several legal hurdles and local opposition since it signed an MoU with the state government in 2005. The hope of Posco to set up the steel project faded away after the central government introduced the amended Mines and Mineral (Development and Regulation) Act 2015 mandating that the company has to participate in the bidding process to get raw material to feed the proposed steel plant at Jagatsinghpur.

The statement of the South Korean envoy came at a time when the steel major told the National Green Tribunal that it would not be able to establish the proposed $12 billion steel plant in Odisha by 2017. Its lawyer informed the tribunal that it has not been able to obtain forest and other clearances while its environmental clearance is valid until July 2017.

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