Sept. 25, 2006 picture shows the villagers from the proposed Posco plant are in Odisha on hunger strike protesting against the move to deprive their lands. A file photo: Ashoke Chakrabarty.

Last Updated: Saturday, January 11, 2014, 17:40
Bhubaneswar: Rejecting environmental clearance for Posco‘s s 52,000 crore steel plant project in Odisha, anti-displacement activists today decided to challenge it in the National Green Tribunal besides demonstrating during South Korean President Park Geun-Hye‘s visit to India.

“How can the project be built on forest land without forest clearance? We will draw the attention of National Green Tribunal during its next hearing on January 13,” Abhay Sahoo, President of CPI-backed Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) said here.

He said that PPSS would also draw the attention of the Tribunal on environmental clearance for a 4 mtpa capacity steel plant against its planned capacity of 8 mtpa and also for barring its port project.

Sahoo alleged that both the state and Centre bypassed the law and was trying to suppress the agitation at the plant site.

He said a group of villagers would go to Delhi and and hold demonstrations before the hotel where the South Korean President would stay to draw his attention.

“Our people will inform the Korean President that the Posco project is being developed after demolishing our house and livelihoods,” Sahoo said.

“If Dangaria Kandhas can go to London to protest against Vedanta’s mining, why can’t our people agitate in Delhi?” the PPSS leader asked.

He said that the people living or depending on the forest land near Paradip, were non-tribal forest dwellers (NTFD) who had rights over the forest under the provision of the Forest Rights Act.

The South Korean President is scheduled to be on a four-day visit to India from January 15 during which she will discuss the progress of the project with the Prime Minister.

Meanwhile CPI’s Central Secretariat said in a statement in Delhi “Government should take note of the popular resistance and also opposition of NGT under the Forest Conservation Act. It should not ride rough-shod over all this opposition in the name of development.”

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