Posco clearance – Smell of Corruption – CBI Probe Demand

BHUBANESWAR , India:

The BJP today slammed the UPA government at the Centre for according conditional clearance to Posco project in Orissa and demanded that a CBI probe should be ordered into the matter.

“The whole process of clearance smacks of pay-offs. Like the 2G spectrum scam, this is another blow to the country,” BJP’s state president Jual Oram said.

Dubbing the Centre’s action as “anti-national and anti-people”, Oram said “This is fraud in broad daylight”.

Union environment minister Jairam Ramesh inked the final approval for diversion of 1,253 hectares of forest land for the project with the assurance from the state government that those claiming to be dependent on or cultivating the land in the project area do not belong to the other traditional forest dwellers (OTFD) category under the Forest Rights Act, 2006.

Oram alleged that the state government had a track record of flouting every Forest, Environment and Tribal Law of the land and so POSCO and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik will never fulfill the conditions stipulated by the Ministry.

Many legislations would be flouted if the South Korean steel major was allowed to set up its plant near Paradip.

Setting 60 additional conditions, the Environment Ministry yesterday granted conditional clearance for South Korean major Posco’s USD 12 billion steel mill and captive port project in Orissa after putting it on hold.

Ramesh also sought categorical assurance from the state government that there was no violation of Forest Rights Act (FRA) in the land acquisition process for what is dubbed as the single biggest foreign direct investment project in India.

 

The conditional nod given by the Union environment ministry to the Posco Steel Plant and captive port has evoked contrasting reactions from the state government and those who face the prospect of displacement.

While the Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) – which is spearheading the movement against the plant – asserted that it would intensify its agitation, the administration welcomed it. State industries minister Raghunath Mohanty said the decision would give a boost to development in the state. “With this, all speculation has come to rest. I hope this helps industrial growth in the state,” he said.

The sentiment was echoed by agriculture minister Damodar Rout, who hails from Jagatsinghpur where the project is located. “Some people were opposing it unnecessarily. I hope it moves forward now,” he said.

For his part, Posco-India Pvt Ltd managing director G.W. Sung said in a statement that the company welcomed and accepted the decision of the Union ministry with “humility and gratitude”. He also said that Posco fully appreciated the concerns of different stakeholders on sustainability of environment and livelihood in the project area.

“We are committed to sustainable green initiatives and effective measures for conserving the land and marine environment of the area. We will also create sustainable livelihood opportunities for the project-affected people through a relief and rehabilitation package,” he added.

But PPSS president Abhya Sahu slammed Union environment minister Jairam Ramesh for giving the conditional clearance and said the locals were determined to continue their fight against the project. “The ministry is biased but we will oppose the plant tooth and nail,” he asserted.

PPSS general secretary Sisir Mohapatra also said that the people would not accept the verdict as it was against their interest. “This area is rich in agriculture. Why should they ruin it for setting up an industry which is not wanted?” he said.

The state BJP leaders expressed their surprise at the decision. They said that it would not only affect people in the project area, but also impact the flow of the Mahanadi as the company would draw water from Jobra Barrage on the river. “The people will carry on their protest against the exploitation of the Mahanadi by the project,” a senior party leader said.

The reaction from the state unit of the Congress was guarded. The party was of the view that since the clearance was conditional, nothing could be said about the project’s future.

Thanks to IndiaToday

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  1. Pretty great post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have truly enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post once more soon.

      • Om
      • February 6th, 2011

      Thanks for your support !

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