Announcement to Start Work for POSCO Project is Illegal
October, 8 : When the hearing on dispensation of environmental clearance for POSCO project is going on in National Green Tribunal and stay order for cutting trees continues, the announcement of starting construction by the Ambassador of Korea and the Chief Minister is nothing but to dishonor the rule of law as well as against international human rights law. Recently the United Nations Independent Human Rights experts had urged that “the construction of a massive Steel Plant and port of Odisha by POSCO must not proceed as planned without ensuring adequate safeguards and guaranteeing that the rights of the thousands of people are respected.” The report also said that ‘ People should not be impoverished in the name of development; their rights must take precedence over potential profits.’
The POSCO would withdraw everyday 10 million gallons of water from Mahanadi which may take away ‘right to water’ of people of Cuttack and Bhubaneswar. This is a concern expressed by UNO human right experts. Similarly, when the National Green Tribunal suspended the given environmental clearance on March 30, 2012, it was directed to find out alternative source of water for POSCO, which has not been possible till now.
The MOU has not been renewed till today or the new one is not viable as the company is not prepared to take iron ore at market price and the number of real employment generated has not been submitted by the company.
The most important aspect is that till date the company has not prepared an Environmental Impact Assessment Report for intended 12 million ton steel plant, all that it has prepared is a report for 4 million tons, the first phase. This is a fraud. The ministry of Environment and Forests (Government of India) said before the NGT that POSCO did not provide necessary documents on the said matter. Again the process of allotment of mining has not began and it will not be possible that even mining in Khandadhar would be allowed by the primitive tribals like Paudi Bhuinya who have habitat right in it. Unless and until the mining is cleared the construction of plant is illegal even though clearance for plant is granted. But at present the plant has no environment clearance. So every thing is illegal as of now.
Therefore POSCO’S construction proposal is a dream in the castle. It has to follow international laws of human rights and respect our constitutional rule of law.
Prafulla Samantara, President, Lok Shakti Abhiyan & National Convener, NAPM