Naveen violated model code to favour Posco: BJP

May 11th, 2009 - 6:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Bhubaneswar, May 11 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Monday alleged that Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik violated the model code of conduct to favour South Korean steel maker Posco.
“Patnaik passed orders favouring Posco with mining lease of over an area of 25 sq km in Khandadhar hill in Sundargarh district,” the state BJP alleged, in a complaint to the Election Commission.

In its complaint, the BJP demanded a stay on the order and asked the poll panel to take appropriate action against the chief minister and others responsible.

“On April 19, he (the chief minister) signed the file favouring Posco with the valuable iron ore mines. Such an important decision did not get the prior approval of the Election Commission,” according to the BJP’s complaint - a copy of which is available with IANS.

“There was neither any urgency for the chief minister to sign this file before elections nor there was any court’s directive in the matter,” the party complained.

However, state Steel and Mines Minister Pradeep Amat dismissed the BJP’s allegations, saying the government has not allotted any fresh mine to the company or violated the code of conduct.

“The government has not violated any model code of conduct. The allegations are baseless,” Amat told IANS. “It was an old decision taken in January and there was nothing new.”

Posco plans to build a $12-billion steel plant in Jagatsinghpur district in one of the largest foreign direct investments in India. The world’s fourth largest steel maker signed a deal with the state government in June 2005 to build the plant by 2016 near Paradeep port, some 100 km from here.

The company had proposed to carry out mining in an area of about 6,000 hectares in iron ore rich Khandadhar hills range in Sundargarh district.

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