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*POSCO, Polavaram Projects Illegally Take Over Forest Land: Ministry on the Rampage*

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The Campaign for Survival and Dignity condemns the brazenly illegal behaviour of the Environment Ministry and the Orissa and Andhra Pradesh governments. These authorities’ recent actions with respect to the POSCO and Polavaram projects are in total violation of the law and of democracy. They show yet again that the forest bureaucracy is among the key drivers of land
grabbing across the country (see here<http://www.forestrightsact.com/statements-and-news/89-land-grabbing-on-the-quiet>for
more information on land grabbing by the Ministry).

*The POSCO* *Project*

In Jagatsinghpur District, Orissa, the State government has begun taking over forest lands that it has no legal right over. Two families’ lands were taken earlier this week and another 13 lost their lands today. In fact these lands and forests belong to the local villages under the Forest Rights Act. The Environment Ministry had illegally granted forest clearance for use of
this land on December 29, 2009, in violation of its own orders, and then sought to cover up the illegality by “clarifying” that the clearance was subject to the requirements of the Forest Rights Act. Subsequently, in the first week of February, the villages of the area rejected the diversion; as their consent is a requirement under law, the clearance was obviously illegal.

But it was not withdrawn. The Orissa government is now going ahead, and belatedly the Ministry has constituted a “committee to look into the Forest Rights Act” – chaired by Meena Gupta, who was none other than Secretary at the Ministry when POSCO received environmental clearance. The conflict of interest is obvious. Meanwhile, the forest clearance has *still *not been withdrawn. What exactly is this Committee going to do? Explain why the Ministry granted the forest clearance in violation of law and of its own orders? “Verify” the Orissa government’s claims when they have already been exposed to be lies by CPI leader D Raja and the local struggle organisations? Or simply seek to confuse the matter while the Orissa government conti ues to deploy its forces against the people?

For more information on POSCO, including a timeline, details of the illegality and documents that prove the illegality, see:

http://www.forestrightsact.com/corporate-projects/item/12-the-posco-project

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Written by janjagriti

July 31, 2010 at 4:31 am

Posted in Articles

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