No stopping $1.2 bn Essar steel unit: Trinidad PMApril 23rd, 2008 - 1:50 pm ICT by admin
By Paras Ramoutar
Port-of-Spain, April 23 (IANS) Prime Minister Patrick Manning of Trinidad and Tobago has said that the $1.2-billion steel unit proposed in the country by the Mumbai-based Essar group will proceed on schedule despite “emotional” protests. The construction of the steel plant proposed by the Ruias-led Essar group will begin shortly, Manning told reporters here.
“This is an emotional issue (for) many. But when you examine the facts of the case they are not borne out by the emotion you’re seeing. In fact people are shedding heat on it, not light,” Manning said.
The prime minister’s response followed several protests since the announcement that the plant would be constructed in the Pranz Gardens, Claxton Bay.
Prominent attorney-at-law Prakash Ramadhar had joined the fray in condemning the government for its decision to allow the plant despite protests by some of the 1,500 residents, all of who have been living there for over a generation.
They view the project as a distasteful, inhumane and dangerous proposition, with Ramadhar describing the unit and its potential effect on the community and the environment as “the nature of mother nature”.
He asked the residents to defend themselves - not by violence but by networking with one another and taking lawful methods of action.
“Use this issue to show the government that the residents will not sit by and let their lives be destroyed,” he said.
Prem Singh, administrative manager of Essar Steel, said the proposed plant would be one of the most modern in the world, adding his group had assured the agencies that the plant would not have a destructive effect on the environment.
The plant would provide hundreds of jobs during construction and in smaller number upon completion, he said.
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