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Letter to Sonia Gandhi

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Smt Sonia Gandhi

Chairperson, United Progressive Alliance

10, Janpath

New Delhi

Sub:- Withdrawal of illegal forest clearance given to POSCO-India

Dear Madam,

We are writing in regard to the POSCO project in Orissa. As you are aware, the Ministry of Environment and Forests is delaying on withdrawing the illegal clearances granted to this project, even after the POSCO Enquiry Committee report found that the grant of clearances for this project was “farcical”, and that the project will threaten lakhs of people living within an ecologically fragile coastal ecosystem. It appears that project continues to be pushed through in violation of law and people’s rights.

On Tuesday, you had informed the All India Congress Committee that “it is the nature of development that is in question. People must have a say and they must have a stake.” You also quoted former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi as saying that “Whenever the environment is damaged, bit of India dies.” Earlier this year and last year, you had also stated that the Forest Rights Act of 2006 is a “landmark legislation” whose implementation is a priority for the UPA.

We are afraid that the Ministry of Environment and Forests does not seem to be complying with these basic requirements. In particular, we request you to ensure that the Ministry accepts the recommendation of the Forest Advisory Committee to withdraw the forest clearance to the POSCO project, and to ensure that the Minister resists any attempt to dilute or undermine it, as has been done repeatedly in the past by the Ministry. In particular:

  • The grant of forest clearance, as a result of the Forest Rights Act and as clarified in the Ministry’s own orders, requires the democratic consent of the gram sabha.
  • It also requires a certificate from the gram sabha that the implementation is complete.
  • The forest clearance was granted illegally without any of the above and must now be withdrawn in full and permanently.
  • The decision must clearly state that no future forest clearance for this or any other project can be granted without the above
  • The environment clearances and CRZ clearances must also be withdrawn in light of this project’s potentially extremely dangerous impact on both the steel plant area and the rest of the district along with serious procedural irregularities in determining impact assessment of the activities in question.

We also call upon you to take steps to ensure that the government complies with the requirements of law and democracy.


Akhil Gogoi, General Secretary, Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti, Assam

Asit Das, POSCO Pratirodh Solidarity

Kanchi Kohli, Kalpavriksh Environmental Action Group

Madhumita Dutta, Corporate Accountability Desk-The Other Media, Chennai

Mamata Dash, National Forum for Forest Peoples and Forest Workers

Dr. Manoranjan Mohanty, Council for Social Development

Manshi Asher, POSCO Pratirodh Solidarity

Shankar Gopalakrishnan, Campaign for Survival and Dignity

Written by janjagriti

November 8, 2010 at 11:23 am

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