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Archive for May 2011

Orissa HC issues notices after fresh plea against Posco

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Posco’s troubled steel plant in Orissa may have hit yet another roadblock, as the Orissa high court on Friday issued notices to the state and central governments and Posco India on a public interest litigation (PIL) alleging illegal forest clearance after final permission was granted to Posco for its plant in Jagatsinghpur district.

A division bench of chief justice V Gopal Gowda and justice B N Mohapatra issued the notices after preliminary hearing on the PIL and adjourned the matter for further hearing on 25 May.

Meanwhile, renewed land acquisition for the project has got off to a shaky start.

Ending a nine-month hiatus, the Orissa government on Wednesday resumed the acquisition process, obtaining around 1.5 acres from the possession of 11 betel vine farmers.

However, by Friday, agitators had set up a roadblock, while many villagers whose land was to be acquired did not turn up for identification.

The PIL has been filed by Nishakar Khatua and five others of Gobindapur village under Dhinkia panchayat of Jagatsinghpur district, where the proposed 12 million tonnes per annum steel plant is proposed to be set up.

They have stated that the forest clearance granted to the company has been done contrary to the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act of 2006.

Challenging several central and state government circulars and orders in favour of Posco, the petitioners have also questioned the actions of different departments of the Orissa government in the matter.

Submitting more than 25 annexures in the plea, the petitioners have listed the union ministries of environment and forests and tribal affairs, Posco, and six departments of the Orissa government as opposite parties. The high court has issued notices to all the opposite parties.

The petitioners claim that they are directly affected by the illegal order purporting to forest clearance and diversion of forest land to Posco as they belong to ‘other forest dwellers’ as per the Forest Rights Act.

The petition also claims that out of 1620.496 hectares of land earmarked for setting up the steel plant, about 1253.225 hectares is forest land, including 68.98 hectares of Jatadhar Reserve Forest, 1106.877 of Dhinkia-Nuagaon protected forest, 27.68 hectares of Noliasahi protected forest and 49.688 hectares of revenue forest.

”Around 74 per cent of the total land to be utilised for the proposed steel plant thus comes under the forests category and there are at least 3,578 families, including the petitioners are going to be affected in terms of livelihood for diversion of forest land and for displacement,” the petition said.

The petition has urged the court to direct the state government not to take any coercive action using police to remove the petitioners from forest land under their occupation. It has also sought a direction to the state government to stop all work on the Posco project until disposal of the petition.

The centre had stopped land acquisition for the project on 5 August, 2010 over alleged forest law violations, but on 2 May union environment and forests minister Jairam Ramesh granted final clearance to Orissa for diversion of 1,253 hectares of forest land for the Korean steelmaker’s facility, which promises to be the country’s biggest foreign direct investment at $12 billion.


Written by janjagriti

May 23, 2011 at 10:30 am

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Palli Sabha Resolutions

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Palli Sabha Resolutions- complete set

Written by janjagriti

May 22, 2011 at 1:45 pm

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Iron and Steal: The POSCO-India Story

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Iron-and-Steal- MZPSG report

This report presents a comprehensive analysis of the claims advanced by the State and Central governments and the POSCO company itself, of the various benefits that would accrue to “the people”, and the total addition to the state economy due to this project. Going beyond the standard narratives of revenues and cash flow, this report investigates the actual impacts of the POSCO project on the residents of Jagatsinghpur, Keonjhar and Sundergarh, where the steel plant, the port, and the mines will be set up—the same “people” in whose name the POSCO project has been so vigorously pushed by the government of Orissa.  The report also looks at the pivotal roles played by the various institutions of the government in justifying and implementing this project, many times in an undemocratic, illegal and coercive manner. Finally, this report offers a critical evaluation of the only cost-benefit analysis of the POSCO project done so far, conducted by the National Council for Applied Economic Research (NCAER) in 2007, and highlights the fundamental flaws in its methodology and its conclusions.

For more visit

Written by janjagriti

May 22, 2011 at 1:40 pm

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Letter to Prime Minister on corruption and POSCO

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18 May 2011
To: The Prime Minister of India

Dear Prime Minister,

In the context of the recent national debates on corruption, we wish to draw your attention to another ongoing case in which both State and Central officials are blatantly favouring a private multinational company – Pohang Steel Corporation (POSCO) – in violation of law. There is enough information in the public domain for us to suspect criminal collusion between this company and government officials.

The proposed POSCO steel project in Orissa is incredibly lucrative – POSCO will make an estimated profit of Rs. 1,95,000 crores over the life of the project (Rs. 6,500 crore per year after all expenses) just on the basis of having captive iron ore mines. The fact that corporates are making super profits from our natural resources is today a national issue; the faith of the public in regulatory institutions is already deeply shaken. We cannot see any difference between the recent handover of 2G spectrum and the seeming collusion in the POSCO case, where it seems that equally valuable resources – iron ore, land, water, a natural harbour – are being sought to be given to a private company “on the cheap” without complying with the law. As such, the public has a right to know what has happened. It is vital that a transparent, public investigation is held into the actions of State and Central officials in this case. A few examples of such actions are as follows:

  • A criminal complaint has been filed by villagers in the proposed steel plant area against the District Collector for repeatedly lying on record. For instance, he claimed on 01.03.2011 that the land had no forest prior to 1930 – when six months earlier an Enquiry Committee had found that the government’s own maps show the villages as surrounded by forests in 1928. The Collector also claims there are no forest dwelling STs when the government’s own public notice showed compensation payments to two STs in July 2010 when a small area of land was illegally taken for the project. The criminal complaint was only filed after repeated representations to all State and Central authorities failed to elicit any action. The Environment Ministry, whose own committee had proved that these statements were false, simply carried on accepting them without a murmur.
  • The behaviour of the Environment Ministry itself is deeply suspect. It is notable that the first environmental clearance for this project was given in May 2007, when A. Raja was the Environment Minister. Since then, and especially after December 2009, the Ministry has adopted a “musical chairs” approach; every time a violation has been exposed, the Ministry has shifted the focus to some other issue, trying to appear “sensitive” while condoning the illegality. Committee after committee reached the same conclusion that the Forest Rights Act had been violated; their findings were simply buried and never referred to again. Every violation of environmental law that was raised was converted into a vague “condition” and left to the company to implement. Such actions show systematic bias and a deep contempt for the law.
  • According to a report in the Telegraph newspaper on April 20th, POSCO-India claims to have spent Rs. 3,000 crores on the project so far – while employing less than 80 people, and without beginning any construction. What has this money been spent on?
  • The majority report of the POSCO Enquiry Committee exposed that minutes of official meetings were being changed to favour the company and that there was pressure from the Finance Ministry during the environment clearance process. This finding too was ignored. After giving his final decision on this project the Environment Minister gave a speech on May 6th in which he declared that he is sometimes “forced to… condone environmental violations.” Meanwhile, the requirement for the consent of the gram sabhas (village assemblies) for diversion of forest land – intended to make the process open and democratic, and the only opportunity for real public control – has been entirely ignored. To ignore democratic processes required by law, while engaging in backdoor manipulation, is a particularly noxious form of corruption.

As citizens of this country we have a right to know how and why our natural resources are being handed over to this company and why these decisions were taken. We therefore call upon the State and Central governments to:

  • grant sanction for prosecution of the District Collector and ensure that the case is investigated by the CBI;
  • initiate a public judicial inquiry into the actions of Central and State agencies and into expenditure by the POSCO company;
  • prosecute those found guilty of criminal offences by the inquiry;
  • Halt all steps to implement this project pending the completion of these processes.


Prashant Bhushan, Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reform
Arvind Kejriwal, Parivartan India
Swami Agnivesh, President, World Council of Arya Samaj
Aruna Roy, Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sanghatan and member, National Advisory Council
Vandana Shiva, Navdanya


Written by janjagriti

May 22, 2011 at 1:20 pm

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Urgent Appeal from POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) 6th of May 2011.

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We appeal to one and all to strongly condemn the decision of the Minister of State for Environment and Forest, Govt. of India. Mr. Jaiaram Ramesh for giving final forest and environmental clearance to POSCO Company for use of 1253 hectare of forest land in our area. This clearance is given on the basis of compliance report made by the Odisha government which is factually and legally incorrect and misleading.

Mr. Jairam Ramesh and the state government of Odisha disrespected the resolution of Palli sabha  (Village council ) that opposed any handover of land to the proposed project.  As per section 6 of the Forest Rights Act 2006 villagers of Dhinkia and Govindpur organised Palli Sabhas on 21st and 23rd of February 2011 respectively. We had sent the copies of the resolutions to the Odisha government authorities and the Environment Ministry for their information.  The government authorities deliberately suppressed facts and declared in the government’s submission to the MOEF that such resolutions were fake and said that ‘only 69 and 64 signatures respectively were put in the Dhinkia and Govindpur Palli Sabha resolutions’. However, in reality,  out of 2445 total number of voters in Dhinkia village, 1632 persons  and out of 1907 total number of voters in Govindpur village, 1265 persons signed on the Palli Sabha Resolutions. We are attaching herewith the Palli Sabha  notices, notices to Executive officer, and resolutions  of Dhinkia and Govindpur village for your information. More than 65 % of the villagers participated in both the Palli Sabhas and passed the resolutions rejecting the proposal for diversion of land.

It is a matter of great concern that the Ministry of Environment & Forest in collusion with the Government of Odisha has deliberately chosen to overlook the key issues raised by us on the illegalities committed in the forest and environment clearance process. The MOEF and the Government of Odisha has fraudulently raised the issue of Palli Sabhas to sidestep statutory requirements for forest and environmental clearance.  The central issue which the ministry and the Odisha government has avoided is the compliance to the requirements under the Forest Rights Act particularly Section 4 (5) and the MOEF guidelines issued in August 2009 which obligates the state government to ensure completion of the Forest Rights Act and to obtain the consent of Gram Sabha in the areas proposed for diversion of forest land. In fact this is the ground for the Ministry’s issuing stop work order on 5th August 2010. Subsequent visit and fact finding by the Saxena committee and the Meena Gupta committee has substantiated our claim and proved beyond doubt that there are other traditionally forest dwellers in the proposed areas depending traditionally on the forests for their livelihood, that sufficient documentary evidence is available which shows the existence of forest rights (which is also available with the ministry) and that the FRA is not implemented by the state government in the area. Based on the Meena Gupta committee’s report the Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) has recommended withdrawal of forest clearance. The state government has been repeatedly denying the existence of tribal in the proposed project area whereas the census 2001 confirms the presence of tribal people.  We have also submitted concrete evidences that there are tribals in our area who are cultivating the forest land.  In July 2010, the state administration by use of force illegally occupied the land of two tribals  Sh.Ramachandra Murmu and Sh. Rajendra Hembram of Polang village.  There are number of other instances where the government is suppressing the facts and figures.

On 29th of April 2011, Mr. Jairam Ramesh visited Odisha and raised the questions about  the raw material requirements and its sources and the new MOU with POSCO. On that particular day, we  demonstrated in huge numbers and  asking Mr. Ramesh to withdraw the provisional forest, environmental and Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearances.  But to our shock and utter surprise, on 2nd of May 2011, he gave the final forest and environmental clearance. This is nothing other than double standards shown by Jairam Ramesh who has used the smoke screen tactics to ward off people’s anger while preparing for complete capitulation to interest of private profit.

The initial rejection by Ramesh of the compliance report sent by the state government (submitted on 13th April 2011) giving assurance about the non-existence of OTFDs in our area created the impression  that Ramesh and the central government are respectful of law and opinion of the citizen of the country. However, the final order only exposed the true character of the Minister and the central government.

It is learnt that POSCO was one of the mega projects which was cleared by the then Minister, Ministry of Environment and Forest, A Raja. This decision was taken in haste on 15th of May 2007, exactly a month after the controversial statutory Environmental Public Hearing on the project was held, which involved major human rights violations. The unseemly haste by which Raja cleared the POSCO project was a strong indicator of favourable decisions that were meant to follow. In view of the recent forest clearance granted by the MOEF it becomes amply clear that in addition to the violation of forest and environment clearance, the POSCO project clearance is also a part of the corruption trail of the present political set up. Hence the ongoing CBI enquiry on the corruption involved in the 2G spectrum allocation should also include the investigation into the corruptions involved in the POSCO project.

POSCO claimed to have spent R329.15 crore for the proposed Project. We want to know where and how POSCO has spent these money. We are strongly demanding a CBI enquiry to find out the details of expenses and how much money has been used to bribe the politicians and bureaucrats.

It’s not quite unknown that the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh himself has been keen to see the project gets necessary clearance. The manner in which the final clearance came shows that the PM and the Environment Minister could go to any extent in disregarding  the legislations passed by Parliament (FRA) and resolutions by sovereign Palli Sabha to accommodate the interest of South Korean Company-POSCO. It is now confirmed that for the sovereignty of India is at peril till Manmohan Singh, Jairam Ramesh and Naveen Patnaik (Chief Minister of Odisha) like people are holding top positions.

Jairam Ramesh’s statement about ‘faith and trust in federalism’ confirmed the collusion between the centre and the state against its own people. At this juncture, we appeal to all citizens to write condemnation letters to PMO, Environment Minister and Chief Minister of Odisha,  and protect the rights and sovereign will of the people of India. Otherwise the day that the country is divided piece by piece by corporate cartels’ to serve their greed won’t be very far away, and the governments by then would have completely lost their credibility and legitimacy.

We will soon decide the future course of our democratic struggle to thwart POSCO from entering our area to protect our land and livelihoods.

Kindly circulate the appeal widely.

In Solidarity,

Prashant Paikary

Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti

Mobile no – 09437571547


Please send your letter in the following adddresses

1.     Shri Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India, Prime Minister’s Office, Room number 152, South Block, New Delhi, Fax: + 91 11 2301 6857.

2.     Jairam Ramesh, Minister of State for Environment and Forest, CGO Complex, Lodi Road, Paryavaran Bhavan, New Delhi-3

3.     Shri Naveen Patnaik, Chief Minister of Orissa, Address: Naveen Nivas, Aerodrome Road, P.O.-Bhubaneswar, Dist.-Khurda Pin -751001(Orissa), Tel. No.(O) 0674- 2531100,2535100 (FAX) Tel. No.(R) 0674- 2590299, 2591099,2590844,2591100,2590833, Email :

4.     Chairperson, National Human Rights Commission of India, Faridkot House, Copernicus Marg, New Delhi 110 001, Tel: +91 11 230 74448, Fax: +91 11 2334 0016, Email:

5.     Mr. T. Theethan, IAS, The Joint Secretary, National Commission for SC, 5th Floor, ‘B’ Wing, Lok Nayak Bhavan, Khan Market, New Delhi 110103, India. Email:

Written by janjagriti

May 6, 2011 at 6:26 am

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Revoke the illegal clearance to the POSCO project

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Press Release New Delhi, 4 May 2011

A mercenary ministry and a habitual-liar state cannot strangle democracy to death

The ‘final forest clearance’ by the MoEF to the controversial POSCO project in Orissa on 2 May 2011, is a shocking assault on Indian democracy. It makes it clear that all talk of ‘inclusive democracy’ and ‘inclusive development’ by the government is a sham, to be abandoned whenever politically expedient. The central government’s order is based itself on the blatant lies of the government of Odisha, giving short shrift to facts, provisions of law, and democratic processes. The UPA government that misses no opportunity to trumpet loud about a ‘working democracy’ under its leadership has shamelessly sold the laws of the land to the highest bidder—and practically for a loss. The facts are as follows. 1. The glaring fact is that the FRA requirements were not met in the first place. Even if the state government fraudulently rejected the resolutions passed by the Palli Sabhas, the state government never produced Palli Sabha certificates either, as required by the MoEF vide its various orders. That means that the Act was never implemented as per the state government’s own admission; and the MoEF itself too says no resolution was ever passed to initiate the process of recognition of rights (page 2, para 9). Therefore, to acquire the land is a “criminal offence”. Without the settlement of rights through legal process, the government simply does not own this land and certainly has no right to give it away. Doing so is daylight robbery, and the MoEF’s order dated 2 May 2011 makes it equally culpable in this crime! 2. Both the Odisha government and the MoEF have told barefaced lies. The Odisha government claims that the land was not forest in 1930 when their own maps say otherwise. Both say that there were no quorums in the meetings of the Palli Sabha where the resolutions were passed and that the resolutions were signed by only 60 odd people, where in reality more than 70% villagers attended the meetings, and the full set of signatures (more than 2000) was sent by registered AD post to the Odisha Government as evidence; the MoEF has copies of these evidences on its table. But, by showcasing a fake resolution sent by the state government with 34 signatures, the MoEF now decides to champion the unashamed lies of the Odisha government by resorting to the wholly specious argument that the principle of “cooperative federalism” compels it to accept the state government’s versions! …So much for democracy! Even less for the rule of law! 3. While indulging in this extremely dubious legerdemain, the MoEF has conveniently forgotten that this project is an “environmental disaster”. Not a single one of the objections raised by the Enquiry Committee, set up by the MoEF itself, in October last year was ever addressed. The Committee specifically said “Potentially very serious impacts…have not even been assessed, leave alone planned for … The cavalier and reckless attitude of the concerned authorities to such potentially disastrous impacts is horrendous and shocks the collective conscience of the Committee … There appears to be a predominant belief that conditionalities in the EIA/CRZ clearances are a substitute for comprehensive evaluation and assessment of the environmental impact by the authorities. Imposing vague conditionalities seems to be a way out for the various agencies from taking hard decisions on crucial issues.” – it is not us who said this – it is the Ministry’s own Committee! And yet, the Minister has chosen to do exactly the opposite. 4. Independent studies have shown that this project will result in a net loss of employment; that the company has wildly exaggerated employment and tax revenues; and that the project is a net loss to the Indian economy. Why then is the project being pushed in this manner? Is it the new-found wisdom of “cooperative federalism” or principles of the so-called “inclusive growth”? 5. The most intriguing part of the whole travesty is that, as on today, there is no MoU existing between the government and the company for the project; the MoU expired in June 2010. Yet, land acquisition has been allowed! How? Are we living in a democracy bound by laws? The Minister further states that he passed the order of August 2009 – making compliance to FRA mandatory before diverting any forest land – when he “was under no pressure or obligation to do so.” We beg to differ – the law required it. Apparently, the Minister thinks that he is never subject to any “obligation” to follow the law or respect people’s rights, as this order on POSCO reflects. If he wants to “repose trust” in a state government that has been habitually lying on record to his ministry, he is breaking his oath to the Constitution and should resign. The MoEF order on POSCO goes on to say that the “implementation of the FRA 2006 and August 2009 guideline is “a learning and evolving process…” We are not familiar with this novel concept. A law is either followed or not followed. To allow diversion of forest land by issuing an order without implementing the laws is a “criminal offence”. A crime cannot be “a learning and evolving process”. The fact, as proved by the host of scams and scandals that beset this government, is that it has now mastered the art of violating “clearance” procedures for devastating corporate projects—simply impose a string of “stringent conditions” (whatever they mean) that will never be enforced. By giving the POSCO project a go-ahead, the UPA government has once again shown how little the lives or rights of people mean to it. It has torn its own “landmark law” to shreds. It is pushing a project that its own enquiry committee had labelled “an environmental disaster in the making”. Now this government, through its Minister, seeks to hide its lies, and justify its wholly illegal actions by recourse to trite platitudes about not only “doing the right thing but doing the thing right”. How do you do a “wrong” thing right! In January 2011, the POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) had warned, “It is not the meaningless orders of a mercenary government that will decide the fate of the POSCO project, but the tears and blood of our people.” We demand: 1. Immediate withdrawal of clearance to the POSCO project 2. A high-level enquiry be set up to investigate the series of fraudulence at the hands of the Orissa government as well as the MoEF that led to the issuing of this clearance order, and the culprits and collaborators be punished severely in order to re-establish people’s faith in democracy 3. The agitating people of the proposed project area be directly consulted, in the presence of independent observers, to ascertain their true wishes in a fair and transparent manner Issued by: POSCO Pratirodh Solidarity (PPS-Delhi) in association with NFFPFW, CSD, NAPM, INSAF, and others Contact: Mamata Dash (9868259836); Souparno Lahiri (9818147740); Anil Chaudhury (9811119347); Madhuresh (9818905316)

Written by janjagriti

May 5, 2011 at 10:14 am

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Villages Nuagaon, Gadkujang, Dhinkia; Erasama Block, Jagatsinghpur District, Odisha

Shri Jairam Ramesh
Minister of State (I/C) for Environment and Forests

Sub: Further brazen falsehoods by the Odisha government

Dear Shri Ramesh,

In regard to the Odisha government’s letter of April 29th, while reserving our right to reply further, please consider:

• As per the Ministry’s order of July 30, 2009 and clarification on the POSCO final clearance (8.1.2010), certificates
from the palli sabha consenting to the diversion of forest land, and stating that the FRA has been implemented, are
required. The state government has not supplied these. Without certificates from the palli sabhas the project cannot go ahead and the Ministry cannot permit it to do so, except by violating the law and its own orders.

• The government has simply lied about the palli sabha resolutions. It claims there were only 69 and 64 signatures on
the resolutions, but the hard copies of the full resolution – with more than 70% quorum in both Dhinkia and
Gobindpur villages – were sent by registered post A/D to all Odisha government authorities and to the Ministry. We
believe that the Odisha government has deliberately used the scanned electronic copies sent to you, whose covering letter explicitly stated that only the first page of signatures was being included. The hard copies are already with you, and the veracity of their statements can easily be checked. We have already established that these are valid.

• Besides, while accusing the villagers of having not met quorum, the government cites a “resolution” signed by
34 people (in a village of 1907 people) as proof of implementing the Forest Rights Act. Does quorum only
apply to resolutions sent by us and not to ones sent by them? Can there be any better proof that they have not
implemented the Act, and therefore that diversion would be illegal, as correctly stated in the April 14th letter?

• Moreover, the government is in any case required to submit palli sabha certificates on the issue of forest diversion
for POSCO (not general “resolutions” as enclosed in this letter). It has never done so. The easiest way to settle this
dispute is to let the government call a palli sabha on this issue; we have no objection. Neutral State, Central and civil
society observers should be present to certify that it took place as per law.

• We reiterate that the Ministry now has written, indisputable proof of lies by the State government. In addition to the
above, the government still says the land was not forest in 1930 when their own revenue maps and the Survey of
India prove that it was. The current letter includes exactly the same set of false statements that were made to the
POSCO Enquiry Committee and proved false in chapter 3 of the majority report. Is the Ministry going to take no
action on these blatant lies, told to it so brazenly? Is the Ministry’s statutory authority a joke to be toyed
with? We and other pro-people forces intend to pursue all possible legal avenues against those responsible for these
gross falsehoods, and call upon the Ministry to also do so, if only to preserve the dignity of its authority.
We also reiterate that there are STs cultivating forest land, and two of them lost their lands to the takeover in July 2010, as proven by the government’s own records. There are fishworkers with recorded rights that would be eligible under the Forest Rights Act. Are the rights of all of these people going to be ignored? Further, the illegalities in the environment and CRZ clearance also appear to have been forgotten.

It is remarkable that the Ministry continues to take no action when the Odisha government and POSCO have broken clearance conditions, violated the Forest Rights Act and the EIA / CRZ notificaitons, challenged the Ministry’s authority and, finally, lied to the Ministry’s face. If this is not sufficient to require withdrawal of the clearances, we fail to understand what would be.

The individual claims process in this area was delayed by the failure of the government officials to respond to the notice of the Forest Rights Committee, and these claims are now expected to be approved by the palli sabhas of Dhinkia and Gobindpur later this week. The details will be communicated to the Ministry.


(Abhay Sahoo)

Enclosed here with the Full story on sellout to POSCO

Written by janjagriti

May 3, 2011 at 10:53 am

Posted in Articles