Our project grounded, how can we commit Rs 3,000 cr to CSR: Posco

Its project hanging fire, South Korean steel giant Posco has objected to the Ministry of Environment and Forest’s (MoEF’s) recommendation that the company should submit a “detail time-bound” schedule for spending at least 5 per cent of its total project cost or about Rs 3,000 crore towards welfare activities in the project area in Orissa.

Although Posco expressed willingness to earmark funds for CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) activities, it pointed out that no work on the project had started although a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed with the Orissa state government over five years ago.

In a December 22 letter to the MoEF, Posco said: “This would be a huge cost considering the fact that the project has not taken off. We have been waiting for five years.”

The letter, a copy of which was sent to T K A Nair, Principal Secretary, Prime Minister’s Office, noted that Posco would set aside a “part of the profit” for CSR programmes when the project becomes operational.