Vishwa Mohan,TNN | Jan 14, 2014

Green groups demand Moily's resignation over Posco
Greenpeace India alleged that Moily cleared the Posco file “without obtaining forest clearance“. (File Photo)

NEW DELHI: With activists questioning the manner in which the South Korean steel giant Posco got green ministry’s nod for its project in Odisha, the Greenpeace India on Tuesday demanded resignation of M Veerappa Moily alleging that the new environment minister is ignoring concerns of all stakeholders, except corporate, in his pursuit to clear all pending files.

Demand came just a day before the beginning of four-day state visit of South Korean president Park Geun-hye to India. As activists have planned to protest before the visiting President, the Greenpeace India questioned how come Moily cleared the Posco file “without obtaining forest clearance”.

The NGO also questioned Moily’s move to grant green nods to over 70 projects worth over Rs 1.5 lakh crore in the past three weeks without taking all stakeholders including affected villagers into confidence.

Even as Moily insisted that the green nod will not be given to a project unless it is supported by local panchayats like what he did in the case of Vedanta’s Niyamgiri project, the green group noted that the minister ignored this aspect while giving clearance to the Posco.

In an open letter to Moily, its executive director Samit Aich said, “The law requires equal opportunity to all stakeholders when a project is cleared. You have given speedy clearance by ignoring all stakeholders, except the corporate”. Aich pointed out that the Moily’s action had failed to protect the rights of villagers and environmental groups working to protect forest, wildlife, bio-diversity and rivers in the affected areas.

Though Moily had signed on environment clearance to Posco last week, the project’s forest clearance is currently pending before the National Green Tribunal (NGT) – raising a big question mark whether the project could actually pass the legal scrutiny before being taken off on the ground in Odisha.

Activists including members of the Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti have already stated their intention to approach the court against Moily’s move, pointing out that delinking clearance for the Posco’s steel plant and its port is not in tune with the green tribunal’s 2012 order which called for a single environment clearance through cumulative green assessment for all major and minor component of the project.

Referring to other projects which got clearance from the environment ministry in the past three weeks, Aich said, “The very idea behind existence of the ministry is not to give ‘speedy’ clearance to projects but to safeguard the environment and wildlife”.

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