Wednesday, November 3, 2010

POSCO Update - FAC recommends scrapping of forest clearance for Posco

Dear All,

Hope you will find the following news on developments with regard to POSCO project useful.

Thanks and regards,


Ranjan Panda

Water Initiatives Orissa: Fighting water woes, combating climate change…more than two decades now!


FAC recommends scrapping of forest clearance for Posco
BS Reporter  | 2010-11-04 01:21:00

In yet another setback to the Rs 54,000-crore Posco project, India's biggest FDI, the Forest Advisory Committee, a panel under the Union ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) has recommended scrapping of forest clearance given to the project.

The FAC has claimed that it has found ample evidence of the violations of Forest Rights Act (FRA) at the Posco project site. The statutory body has made the recommendation for withdrawal of forest clearance in its assessment report submitted to the MoEF.
The MoEF is likely to take a decision on the Posco project next Monday.

The FAC's recommendation follows similar demands made by the Saxena committee as well as three members of the Meena Gupta panel. Both the panels were constituted to look into different issues pertaining to the mega steel project.

The report submitted by the three other members of the Meena Gupta panel- Urmila Pingle, Devendra Pandey and V Suresh had called for immediate revocation of the environmental clearance granted for the steel plant and the captive port project even as the panel leader Meena Gupta in a separate report opined for allowing Posco to go ahead with the project subject to completion of a comprehensive environment impact assessment (EIA) and imposition of certain conditions.

These three members felt that there have been serious lapses and illegalities in the EIA process. They held that the EIA prepared for the Posco project was a rapid EIA, based on one season data without taking into account all the components of the project like township project, water project, rail road and transport facilities.

They had stated that there was documentary as well as oral evidence to support the presence of Other Traditional Forest Dwellers at the Posco project site. They also alleged that the Jagatsinghpur district administration has not been fair and democratic in implementing the FRA in the project affected villages.

They held that there has been lack of adequate publicity, awareness campaign, training as required to the people and the Palli Sabha specially, in the project affected villages, about various provisions of the FRA and the process which forms the first link of the FRA implementation.

Won’t implement forest act again, says Orissa
2 NOV, 2010, 04.43AM IST,ET BUREAU

NEW DELHI: South Korean steel maker Posco’s `12,000-crore project in Orissa appears to be in for the long haul. Even as the Forest Advisory Committee is considering its recommendations on the project’s compliance to forest laws, the Orissa government has stressed that a demand to open the issue of claims under the Forest Rights Act, could result in violence in the area.

The state government has made it clear that there is “no question of implementing the Forest Rights Act again” as the law as been administered in its “true spirit”.

Sources said that the state government has in a written submission indicated that attempts to implement the Forest Rights Act in the project area “all over again” could “lead to violence”. Even as it raised the spectre of violence, the state government has fallen back on its record of implementing the Act to stress that all claims in the project area have been settled.

The Posco review committee appointed by the environment ministry has clearly stated that the implementation of the Forest Rights Act has been incomplete in the project area. Both the majority and dissenting reports of the Posco review panel have clearly stated there have been shortcomings and inadequacies in the state’s implementation of the Forest Rights Act.

Three reports — two by the Posco review committee and one by a subcommittee of the joint panel of the ministries of tribal affairs and environment — have documented that the claims of “other forest dwellers” in the project area have not been settled. “Other Forest dwellers” refers to non-tribal population who have been dependent on the forest for their livelihood for the last 75 years or three generations.

The Orissa government assertion that all claims have been settled has not been backed up by the requisite gram sabha resolutions. As per the August 2009 order of the environment ministry, forest clearance cannot be given till all claims under the Forest Rights Act have been settled and the gram sabha passes a resolution to this effect. The Orissa government has not been able to provide the environment ministry with the gram sabha resolutions.

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