Anti-Posco group to launch protest campaign

May 6th, 2011 - 10:35 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, May 6 (IANS) An anti-displacement group Friday alleged that the Orissa government and the union environment ministry had “deliberately chosen to overlook” the issues raised by it regarding the Posco project and said it would launch a letter campaign against the approval granted to the proposed steel plant.

POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS), which has been spearheading the movement against the project in the coastal district of Jagatsinghpur, said it has appealed all citizens to write letters to the state and central authorities.

“It is a matter of great concern that the ministry of environment and forests, in collusion with the state government, has deliberately chosen to overlook the key issues raised by us on the illegalities committed in the forest and environment clearance process,” PPSS spokesperson Prashant Paikary told IANS.

“The state government has been repeatedly denying the existence of tribals in the proposed project area whereas the census 2001 confirms the presence of tribal people” he said.

“We have also submitted concrete evidence that there are tribals in our area who are cultivating the forest land,” he said.

Citing examples of the tribal presence in the region, Paikary said in July 2010, the state administration, by use of force, illegally occupied the land of two tribals named as Ramachandra Murmu and Rajendra Hembram of Polang village.

“There are a number of other instances where the government is suppressing facts and figures,” he said.

“At this juncture, we appeal to all citizens to write condemnation letters to the prime minister, environment minister and state chief minister and protect the rights and sovereign will of the people of India,” he said.

“We will soon decide the future course of our democratic struggle to thwart POSCO from entering our area to protect our land and livelihoods,” he said adding people would soon dispatch thousands of condemnation letters.

The environment ministry Monday gave a final green clearance to the project by South Korean steel major POSCO in Orissa. The $12 billion integrated steel, mining and port project in Orissa is the largest foreign investment in India. It is to come up near the port town of Paradip in Jagatsinghpur, some 100 km from Bhubaneswar.

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