Thursday, May 6, 2021

POSCO & Hyundai want to have VSP with 50 % Share

  • Present, past chief ministers know of the developments
  • Ambassador of South Korea visited Vizag in 2018
  • Officials of POSCO, Hundai visited the plant in 2019, 2020

The Minister for Steel Dharmendra Pradhan’s written reply to MP and Parliamentary Leader of YSRCP Vijay Sai Reddy today in Rajya Sabha revealed secrets and opened several questions.

The Minister said that POSCO and Hyundai are planning to set up a Greenfield steel plant with an estimated cost of Rs 30 thousand crores on the premises of RINL (RasthriyaIspat Nigam Limited) the Visakha Steel Plant in Viskhapatnam. He also revealed that a non-binding MoU has been signed in October, 2019 between RINL and POSCO. Pursuant to the MoU, a Joint Working Group (JWG) has been formed forexchange of information. Shareholding pattern has not been determined at this stage. However, as per MoU, POSCO wishes to have at least 50% shareholding while theshareholding of RINL would be worked out on the basis of valuation of RINL’s in kind contribution of the land for setting up of the plant, the minister added.

For other questions, the answer was: “A Joint team of POSCO and Hyundai along with the Ambassador of SouthKorea to India had visited RINL, Visakhapatnam and participated in a meeting withrepresentatives of RINL, NMDC and Ministry of Steel on 22.10.2018. Subsequently, a team of officials from POSCO visited RINL on 09.07.2019, 23.09.2019 and 20.02.2020 in connection with setting up of the plant.”

Vijaya Sai Reddy asked the following questions:

Will the Minister of Steel be pleased to state: (a) whether POSCO and Hyundai are planning to set up a Greenfield steel plant with an estimated cost of ₹ 30,000 crores on the premises of RINL in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh;

(b) If so, whether it is a fact that the above companies have submitted their proposal and, if so, the details thereof;

(c)  what would be the role of RINL and what would be its equity in the Greenfield company;

(d)  whether it is also a fact that high level delegation from the company and also Ambassador of parent country visited RINL recently; and

(e) if so, the details thereof?

When the Telugu states are agog with the sensational and surprising news of selling out Visakha Steel Plant under the guise of 100 per cent strategic disinvestment, the written answer to YSRCP leader and MP is astonishing, to say the least.  How could the MP of ruling party who is heading the Parliamentary party in Delhi does not know about visit of Joint Team of POSCO and Hyundai who came along with Ambassador of South Korea to India in 2018 itself. It can be argued that YSRCP was not in power at that time. Then how could  the ruling party plead ignorance about visit of joint team again in July September 2019 and February 2020?

The memorandum of understanding is any way not binding. The Government agreed that it was non-binding MoU.  If the POSCO and Hyundai are expecting to have 50 per cent equity shares, as decided a year ago, according to the Rajya Sabha reply, why was it not put in public domain? Why there is no transparency? Why not this be discussed among the stake holders, AP Government and Political Parties besides the people in general?

The language of questioning shows that MP Vijaya Sai Reddy knows about POSCO and Hyundai’s plan to set up the plant, its cost and other details. Yet, why he also did not reveal it?

Prof. M. Sridhar Acharyulu
Prof. M. Sridhar Acharyulu
Author is former Central Information Commissioner and Professor of Law at Bennett University

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