An illiterate tribal woman from Orissa's Jagatsinghpur district is all set to play a vital role in deciding the fate of the Rs 51,000 crore Posco steel project, billed as the country's biggest FDI.
The role of Meena Hembram and 20 others came to limelight after the Meena Gupta panel, which submitted its reports to the union Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) on October 18, pointed out that there were seven tribal families living in villages demarcated to house the 12 mtpa steel mill.
Meena Hembram is a ward member of Polang village under Gada Kujang gram panchayat, part of Posco's proposed plant site near Paradip.
The Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) of MoEF had referred Posco case to the Ministry of Tribal Affairs for taking decision on the alleged violation of Forest Rights Act (FRA) in the proposed plant site villages.
Claim of existence of tribal families in the proposed plant site area had emerged as a major hurdle before the state government, which strongly objected it at the FAC meeting held at Delhi on October 25.
"There was no tribal family living at the proposed plant site area," claimed chief secretary B K Patnaik admitting that some tribals were, however, in the locality.