Environment minister Jairam Ramesh may have sent a positive signal to industry by allowing Posco Steel plant in Orissa with additional conditions but has angered many, who term the decision in violation of law.
"The government enacts laws and frames policies that it claims will benefit the people, and then goes on to tear them to shreds in order to favour multinationals," CPI National Secretary D Raja said in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Questioning Ramesh’s 30 conditions, Raja said this does not change the fact that neither the environment clearance not the forest clearance for this project is in accordance with law.
"Is it any surprise that more and more people, and many adivasis and forest dwellers of this country in particular, have reached the conclusion that the government today is nothing but one working for the corporates," Raja asked.
In a related development Posco Pratirodh Sangharsh Samiti has informed Ramesh that there are other traditional forest dwellers on the project site of the proposed plant. One of the conditions of giving clearance was an assurance by the Orissa government that there are no persons in the concerned area who are “other traditional forest dwellers” as per section 2(o) of the Forest Rights Act 2006.
The Samiti has quoted the ministry own committee on Posco to state that there was enough evidence to suggest that other traditional forest dwellers were living on the project site. “Cultivation and occupation of forest land for self-cultivation is not disputed by anyone and is acknowledged by the rehabilitation plan,” the Samiti said.
It also quoted the minutes of the Forest Advisory Committee, which examined the committee report to say that was breach for Forest Rights Act by the project proponents.
The samiti also said any assurance from the Orissa government has no legality as still provisions of FRA are to be enforced at the project site. “If the final approval is given after assurance from the Orissa government it will still be in violation of the law, the samiti said, in a letter to Ramesh.