The debate over passing two bills to rename Orissa as Odisha and Oriya as Odia in the Lok Sabha led to a verbal duel between the Congress and BJD over approvals given to the Vedanta Resources alumni refinery and Posco steel project in the state.
Congress MP from Kalahandi Bhakt Charan Das termed cancellation of the environment clearance for Vedanta’s bauxite mining in his constituency a moral victory for party general secretary Rahul Gandhi.
“Rahulji has liberated the tribals of Nyamgiri,” he said, accusing the state of playing into the hands of MNCs. This led BJD members led by Arjun Charan Sethi to protest, saying the Naveen Patnaik government had an impressive record on tribal welfare.
Apparently referring to the clearance given by the BJD government to Posco for setting up a plant despite the Union environment ministry’s reservations, Das accused the state of violating the Constitution and law.
His demand for dismissal of the state government was endorsed by thumping of the desks by Congress members, including party chief Sonia Gandhi.
After initial protests, the BJP members did not respond to Das’ charges. Bartruhari Mahtab, Tathagata Satpathy and Prasanna Kumar Patasani spoke for the BJD.
The Lok Sabha passed the two bills.
Posco decision delayed
The government is unlikely to decide on fate of the Posco plant before the G-20 summit in South Korea this week as an environment committee on Tuesday decided to defer its decision for another 10 days.
Posco submitted a new environment plan and Rs 18 lakh compensation for each hectare of land to be acquired.