Virbhadra Singh calls for harmony between corporate houses, displaced locals

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New Delhi, Oct 29 (ANI): Union Steel Minister Virbhadra Singh on Friday called for a harmonious relationship between corporate houses and displaced locals in setting up of mega projects like the POSCO after issues concerning land acquisition came to the fore.

Virbhadra Singh said that setting up of steel projects have resulted in conflicts with the locals.

"Since setting up of mega steel projects involves as a first step acquisition of large tracts of land, it has resulted into major conflicts between investors and the displaced population. Result of this is before us, where mega projects like POSCO's 12 million tonnes capacity project, which they are proposing to put up in Orissa," said Singh, while speaking at a seminar here today.

The world's third-largest steel-maker faced delays arising from protests from local residents, who stand to be affected by the plant, as well as the Environment Ministry probe.

Virbhadra Singh further said that he always supported a policy that benefited both the parties without any conflict.

"Recently Group of Ministers (GoM) has proposed that 26 percent of profits of a mining enterprise should be shared with the local population. I have always supported such policies and initiatives, which can help in reducing tensions between industrial and society," he said.

The report of an Indian panel reviewing clearances into South Korea's POSCO's project in Orissa recommended on October 22 that the environmental clearances be cancelled as the project could violate forest laws.

The panel also recommended that POSCO should be asked to carry out a fresh environmental impact assessment for the 12 billion dollars steel mill, touted as India's biggest foreign direct investment, which has already been delayed by more than three years.

Virbhadra Singh also said that a harmonious relationship between corporate sector and locals would bring in social justice.

"Keeping in view the future growth of industries, it is essential there has to be harmonious relationship between the people who give their land, and the people who take the land and built the factories on that. Harmonious relationship is basis of peace and tranquility, apart from social justice," he added.

The Environment Ministry had in August ordered a halt on all work on the project, including land acquisition, while the panel investigated if the 'Forest Rights Act' that seeks to protect forest land and settlers had been violated. (ANI)

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