Jairam Ramesh questions Orissa’s intention on Posco

May 1st, 2011 - 3:44 am ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, April 30 (IANS) Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh Saturday questioned the Orissa’s government intention on the proposed steel project by South Korean steel major Posco, saying it has not responded to several queries he had raised.

Ramesh said he is waiting for the Naveen Patnaik government’s response on the authenticity of two resolutions by local residents, to decide the future course of action.

Addressing media persons here on the conclusion of his two-day tour of Orissa, the minster said the state government has to say whether the resolutions were genuine or not.

Criticising the state government for portraying him as anti-Posco without making its own stand clear, Ramesh said: “Where is the MOU (memorandum of understanding) between the state government and Posco? Where is the iron ore?”

“Can you imagine I have given environmental clearance for a project whose iron ore source is not known? This is unheard of in India”.

The union environment and forests ministry January granted conditional clearance to the project to be built near the port town of Paradip in the coastal district of Jagatsinghpur, some 100 km from Bhubaneswar.

While granting approval, the ministry asked the state government to give a categorical assurance that no traditional forest dwellers are dependent on or cultivating land in the project area.

The state government had reiterated in its reply that there were no tribal inhabitants or other traditional forest dwellers in the proposed site of the project.

Eearlier this month, Ramesh rejected the state government’s stand and asked it to re-examine the claim made by the local residents.

The integrated steel, mining and port project - touted as the biggest foreign direct investment in the country - has been mired in controversy ever since it was mooted.

While thousands of people who are opposing it saying it will displace them from their homeland and ruin their farm based economy, the state government has been accused of pushing the project in violation of rules.

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