Skip to main content

Odisha-based campaign group says declaration to start construction work at Posco site is "illegal"

By Our Representative
Top Odisha-based campaign group Lok Shakti Abhiyan (LSA) has strongly protested against the announcement to kickstart the construction work of South Korean steel major Posco following a meeting South Korean ambassador India Joon-gye Lee had with Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik. LSA said, “When the hearing on dispensation of environmental clearance for Posco project is going on in National Green Tribunal and there is a stay order for cutting trees, this is nothing but to dishonour the rule of law as well as against international human rights law.”
LSA recalled, “Recently the United Nations Independent Human Rights experts had also urged that ‘the construction of a massive Steel Plant and port of Odisha by Pocsco must not proceed as planned without ensuring adequate safeguards and guaranteeing that the rights of the thousands of people are respected’.” The UN report was further quoted as saying, “People should not be impoverished in the name of development; their rights must take precedence over potential profits.”
Rejecting the UN report, the South Korean ambassador and the Odisha CM agreed that the UN panel’s recommendation had wrongly argued for suspension of the project by raising the issue of displacement. They discussed the project for nearly half an hour and declared that the construction would start to coincide with the South Korean president’s scheduled visit to India next year. Though eight years have been passed since the signing of the MoU, construction work for the project is yet to begin.
Alleging massive environmental damage, LSA said, “Posco would withdraw everyday 10 million gallons of water from Mahanadi which may take away 'right to water' of people of Cuttack and Bhubaneswar. This is a concern expressed by UN human right experts. Similarly, when the National Green Tribunal suspended the given environmental clearance on March 30, 2012, it was directed to find out alternative source of water for Posco, which has not been possible till now”.
Signed by LSA president Prafulla Samantara, the statement by the campaign group said, “The MoU has not been renewed till today, and the new one is not viable as the company is not prepared to take iron ore at market price and the number of real employment generated has not been submitted by the company. The most important aspect is that till date the company has not prepared an Environmental Impact Assessment Report for intended 12 million ton steel plant, all that it has prepared is a report for 4 million tons, the first phase.”
Calling this a “fraud”, LSA said, “The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests has told the National Green Tribunal that Posco did not provide necessary documents on the said matter. Also, the process of allotment of mining has not began and it will not be possible that even mining in Khandadhar would be allowed by the primitive tribals like Paudi Bhuinya who have habitat right in it. Unless and until the mining is cleared the construction of plant is illegal even though clearance for plant is granted. But at present the plant has no environment clearance. So everything is illegal as of now.”
Currently, work on the Posco project is on standstill since completion of land acquisition process on July 4. “The civil construction work and ancillary project-related work has been affected mainly due to the National Green Tribunal’s stay on tree-cutting”, a company official said, adding, “A large number of trees still dot the project areas. Unless trees are felled, ground-levelling cannot be carried out in the area.”
Meanwhile, a six-member delegation of South Korean officials of the Posco steel project visited the office at the site. Officials of the company, including general manager (corporate affairs) IG Lee, had an interaction with a section of local settlers. The delegation did not face any sort of protest during the course of the visit, a company official claimed. Later, the delegation held talks with the district administration.

Comments

TRENDING

Missed call drive for VVPAT verification follows online plea to "pressure" poll panel

By Our Representative
Several political activists have begun a new campaign, asking concerned citizens to give a missed call on 9667655855 to “support the demand that 2019 Loksabha elections must be declared only after verification of 50% electronic voting machines (EVMs) with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) receipts.” The effort, supported by civil society networks across India, is meant to "further pressure" India's election machinery to ensure that the poll outcome becomes more transparent.

Did Modi own, buy digital camera costing Rs 7 lakh in 1987-88, also used email?

Counterview Desk
In an interview to the news channel News Nation, aired on Saturday last, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declaring that he had approved the air strike despite bad weather because he felt the clouds would hide Indian planes from Pakistani radar is known to have become a laughing stock across India.

Now, top Gujarat "litterateur" close to Modi says: Godse was patriot, so was Gandhi

By Rajiv Shah
A little over a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi criticized BJP candidate from Bhopal Pragya Thakur for calling Nathuram Godse a patriot saying he would never forgive her for the remark, a top Sangh Parivar ideologue, known to close to Modi in Gujarat, has supported her, saying her statement should be seen “within a context.” Thakur won from Bhopal by more than 3.5 lakh votes defeating her nearest rival, veteran Congressman and ex-Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijay Singh.

When a neo-nationalist "invaded" hijab clad ladies, Bengali looking scholar in Delhi metro

By Aditi Kundu*
Travelling in Delhi metro on a daily basis to commute from Mayur Vihar to Dwarka, I see diverse people everyday. One can hear them talk about different aspects of life, from kitchen pilitics to national politics. On the morning of May 13, I witnessed a strange incident; disturbing and amusing at the same time.

Terror attacks: Difference in public reactions in India, those in Colombo, Christchurch

By Battini Rao*
Recently, on April 20 during Easter Sunday, more than 250 people were killed in a series of coordinated terrorist attacks in churches and hotels in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Local Islamic organisations Thawheed Jamath (NJT) and Jamathei Milathu Ibrahim (JMI) are held responsible for the attack. Islamic State has also claimed responsibility.

Women lost 88 lakh jobs in 2018: Why Modi "failed" to address their disempowerment?

Counterview Desk
Five human rights leaders Anjali Bhardwaj, Shabnam Hashmi, Purnima Gupta, Dipta Bhog, and Amrita Johri of the Women March for Change have posed 56 questions (alluding to Modi’s claim of 56 inches chest) to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP against the backdrop of his interview with a Bollywood star, which was allegedly masqueraded as a “non-political” conversation.

Disproportionately high death sentences against Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims: UN told

Counterview Desk
In their joint submission to the United Nations Human Rights Committee to meet for the listing of adoption of list of issues at its 126th session, July 1-26, 2019, top Dalit rights organizations have taken strong exception to, among other things, "disproportional application of death sentencing by the judiciary of minorities, such as Muslims, Dalits and Adivasis".

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

India's 80% construction sites "unsafe", deaths 20 times higher than those in Britain

By Rajiv Shah
The Government of India may be seeking to project India’s construction sector as the country’s second-largest employer of the country after agriculture, providing jobs to more than 44 million people, and contributing nearly 9% to the national GDP, yet, ironically, its workforce is more unprotected than any other industrial sector of the country. Data suggest that the possibility of a fatality is five times more likely in the construction industry  than in a manufacturing industry, and the risk of a major injury is 2.5 times higher.

India sans Modi preferable, Congress worthier recipient of Indians’ votes: The Economist

By Our Representative
In a strongly-worded and crucial commentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the electoral political battle is on, influential British weekly “The Economist”, has declared that “Indians, who are in the midst of voting in a fresh election, would be better off with a different leader”, even as pointing out that that under Modi, “India’s ruling party poses a threat to democracy.”