India’s biggest foreign direct investment (FDI) project of South Korean major Pohang Steel Company (Posco) is again under the government scanner with a four member environment ministry committee visiting the project site in Orissa on Tuesday.
The committee headed by former civil aviation secretary K Roy Paul visited Jagatsinghpur district, where the steel plant is coming up and spoke with some members of the United Action Committee, a group supporting the project.
“The committee did not meet us or the ones opposing the project,” said Prashant Paikaray, who had filed a petition with the National Green Tribunal (NGT) against the environment clearance given the project. The NGT in March this year had suspended the clearance on the ground that it was “arbitrary and illegal” as cumulative impact of the steel plant, power station and the captive port was not done.
The environment ministry in May this year constituted the committee having S.R. Wate, director of National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), R. Ramesh, Director of the National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM), and R.D. Singh, Director of the National Institute of Hydrology (NIH) as other members to review the clearance.
The ministry had asked the committee to collect new scientific data on likely impact of the project on environment and submit its recommendations to the government by first week of September.
Paikaray accused the committee of “bais” against those opposing the project and said no effort was made by the members to meet people of Dhinkia village, who had formed a human wall against forceful land acquisition by Orissa government.