The CPI on Tuesday opposed the green signal given by the Environment Ministry to the POSCO project in Orissa, saying it had been done under "pressure" from the PMO.
The Ministry "has done this under pressure from the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) in the name of over riding financial, investment and 'strategic considerations'. "These are not issues before (Environment Minister) Jairam Ramesh. This is an evidence of the way the Government bends before the multinationals," the CPI Central Secretariat said in a statement in New Delhi.
It said "the so called '60 new conditions' imposed in connection with the go ahead signal is a sham, since many of them are old ones that POSCO has repeatedly ignored. "Some (conditions) are directed at the state government which is only too eager to certify that the conditions have been met," the party said.
Condemning the go ahead given to POSCO, it said several committees set up by the Ministry "have clearly indicted POSCO for violating all laws and regulations connected with the rights of forest dwellers and environmental conditions."
"The people in the area have been resisting them for more than five years. The committee reports have pointed out that "half-truths, lies and forgeries have been resorted to by officials in order to support the POSCO cause", the party alleged.
Observing that all these facts were in the public domain, the CPI said it would continue to oppose the POSCO project at the present site and its plan of having captive iron ore mines and a captive port. It also extended total support to the POSCO Pratirodh Committee and the People's Resistance Movement.
Meanwhile, the Adivasi Adhikar Rashtriya Manch (AARM), led by senior CPI(M) MP Baju Ban Riyan, also protested the clearance given to the POSCO project and demanded reversal of the decision. Extending support to the struggle against the project, it said the Centre could have shifted the project to an alternate site as suggested by the affected villagers and endorsed by official committees.
"This would have addressed the environmental and social cause", Riyan said in a statement.