Orissa is doing whatever is correct for Posco : Naveen

Naveen Pattnaik
Bhubaneswar, April 30: The Orissa government on April 29 said it was doing ''whatever is appropriate and correct'' for the stalled Posco steel project, after Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh put the onus of delay in the Rs 52,000 crore venture on the state government.

"I will be meeting the Union Environment Minister tomorrow evening. We will have discussion on various issues concerning the state," Naveen Patnaik told reporters here.

Responding to Ramesh's statement that the matter relating to Posco project is in the state government's court, he said it is the biggest FDI in the country which will benefit both Orissa and the Centre.

"It (Posco project) will bring substantial revenue not just for Orissa but for the rest of the country. It will certainly create a lot of jobs," Patnaik said.

Earlier, Ramesh on his arrival on a two-day visit to the state had told PTI that he had sought clarification from the state government on certain matters relating to the Posco project and the ball was now in its court.

The greenfield Posco project, stalled for over five years, faced a fresh hurdle when the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) recently put on hold the forest clearance for the Rs 52,000 crore project and asked the state government to verify claims made under provisions of Forest Rights Acts (FRA), 2006 by the people living in proposed plant site areas.

While the villagers claimed that they were other traditional forest dwellers according to FRA, the state government rejected it in its report to centre. Ramesh had sought clarification from the state government on this matter.

Meanwhile, activists of Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti, spearheading campaign against the mega project, on April staged a dharna near the proposed plant site demanding cancellation of environmental clearance and settlement of forest right claim.

"Our dharna is to draw attention of the visiting union minister," PPSS president Abhay Sahu said adding the villagers have already submitted all relevant documents claiming their rights over forest land in the proposed plant site area.

Of the 4,004 acres required for the Posco project, 2900 acres are categorised as forest land which need to be diverted in order to use for setting up the steel plant.

The gram panchayats of Dhinikia and Gobindpur have passed separate resolutions opposing the steel project which had been termed ''misleading'' by the state government.


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