Even as the Orissa government announced on Monday that it was set to complete the process to seek final environment clearance for Korean steel major Posco, environment minister Jairam Ramesh has presented another hurdle to the project.
Hours after Orissa CM Naveen Patnaik announced the state government would submit an assurance report to the environment ministry — a mandatory condition to get clearance — Ramesh asked for more.
He wants comments from the state government on a representation by the Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti that the state government's assurance would be false and that the provisions of the Forest Rights Act have not been implemented at the site.
The minister, in his January 31 order allowing Posco's steel plant in Jagatsinghpur, had said the final nod would depend on an assurance from the state government that FRA provisions have been implemented.
In Posco's case, the provision that needs to be met is that the rights of locals be notified before diversion of forestland for the plant.
"Rights of tribals have not been complied with, despite submission of claim forms," said Prashant Paikray, spokesperson of the samiti.
The Orissa government is expected to tell the environment ministry there are no other traditional forest-dwellers on the 2,900 hectares of forest land.
The samiti has provided evidence to the ministry suggesting they are traditional forest-dwellers and said they would initiate legal action against the state government for failing to implement FRA in Dhinkia and Govindpur villages.
“The palli sabhas (forest rights committees) will issue a notice to the state government for false statements over the past year…” the samiti said.