Proposed POSCO plant in Orissa an ecological disaster: Raja

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New Delhi, Dec 3 (UNI) CPI member in the Rajya Sabha D Raja today said the proposed mega steel plant in Orissa, being set up by South Korean company POSCO, would not only be an ecological disaster but also result in tremendous hardships for the affected villagers.

Raising the issue as Special Mention, Mr Raja said the plant would be set up on land that is extremely fertile, giving sustenance to the farmers cultivating paddy, coconut and betel nut.

Demanding intervention by the Centre, he said the plant would require huge quantity of water from the Mahanadi river and might create a drinking water crisis in Cuttack and other cities located along the river.

Pointing out that the steel plant would require a captive port for its operation, Mr Raja said it would adversely affect the Paradeep Port.

He also said POSCO was planning to take iron ore from the Orissa mines to its mother plant in Korea and sought to know whether the country's mining policy permitted this.

Mr Raja said the situation in Jagatsinghpore, whether the steel plant is to be set up, was ''very grave and explosive'' in view of protests from the affected villagers, and appealed to the Centre to intervene to sort out the issue.

Shreegopal Vyas (BJP) said there were reports of terrorists planning to attack the Tirupati temple in Andhra Pradesh, and urged to Centre to get the matter investigated.

He said some Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) militants had been arrested and two mobile phones and Rs 88,000 recovered from them. He said these militants had entered Kashmir from Nepal and planned to attack the holy temple.

Mr Surendra Lath (BJP) urged the government to review the decision to shift Burla Research Centre from Orissa while Mr Ramadhar Kashyap (Cong) demanded a probe into the alleged embezzlement of funds sanctioned for construction of schools in Chhattisgarh.

Ms Supriya Sule (NCP) made a strong demand for clearance of irrigation projects in Maharashtra.

Mr Lalit Kishore Chaturvedi (BJP) demanded immediate steps to extend benefits to all the people included in the BPL in Rajasthan.

Mr Abu Asim Azmi (SP) said some organisations were harassing those carrying animals for slaughter for the coming Bakrid festival.

Mr Tarlochan Singh (Ind) late Chaudhary Devi Lal's residence in the capital -- 101, Lodhi Estate -- be declared a place of national importance to propagate his deals.

He said the government had recently announced that the Jagjivan Ram Trust would be set up in the national capital and also allotted a bungalow to the BSP for propagating late Kanshi Ram's ideals.

He said similar facilities should be provided to the Devi lal Trust, which was playing an important role in the uplift of the rural youth.

Mr P C Alexander (Ind) expressed concern over India's 126th position in the list of 177 countries in the UN Human Development Report, thus making a mockery of all tall claims of development and equitable distribution of wealth.

He said there was a need to discuss the strategy of development and whether the Planning Commission should be refashioned to make it more effective.

UNI

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