A report by India’s Business Standard claims that ‘project proponents’ are allowed to ask for five-year extensions to environmental clearances and these are routinely granted in most cases.
The saga goes way back to 2007 when POSCO’s proposed project was given initial clearance, followed in 2010 by a statutory forest clearance. But in 2011 Union environment minister Jairam Ramesh set up a committee to examine the validity of the clearance. He cleared it, but conditions were added that were challenged by India’s National Green Tribunal. The NGT then suspended the clearance and set up another committee to examine the project, which led to the 2014 clearance.
But then came another challenge and that was followed by POSCO being charged with cutting down trees on-site without formal permission.
Last week POSCO requested that the environmental clearance to be cancelled, arguing it would not be able to finish the project by the clearance’s 2017 deadline.
In the end, POSCO’s patience simply ran out and now there is no Odisha steel project in the pipeline for the South Korean steel giant.