FIMI alleges ‘western’ conspiracy against big projects in India

New Delhi: Miners’ body FIMI fears “vested interests in the US and Western Europe” are stalling big projects like South Korean POSCO’s USD 12 billion steel mill and Vedanta’s USD 1.7 billion plans and has sought Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s intervention in the matter.

There is a “concerted move by vested interests in US and Western Europe for stalling economic development in India and we have sent a letter to PM on these issues,” Federation of Indian Mineral Industries (FIMI) Secretary General R K Sharma told reporters.

“There is a need for evolving a strong mechanism to check the vested interests of these developed countries to derail the economy of the developing countries like India,” the letter to the Prime Minister said.

Mentioning a latest report by international environmental NGO Greenpeace that “it is easier to stop an industry before it begins…”, FIMI said that “vested interests have percolated extensively in this country particularly in Orissa.”

These elements whose “main objective is to stall the progress and growth of this country” are behind suspension of environment clearance to South Korean major’s 12 million tonne steel project in Orissa, Sharma said in the letter.

“I have every apprehension that denial of environment clearance to Niyamgiri Bauxite Mining Project in Orissa and withdrawal of environmental clearance by National Green Tribunal was such an effort by US and Western countries,” he added.

In a blow to the country’s single largest FDI, the National Green Tribunal on March 30 had suspended the green clearance granted to the much-awaited project on January 31, 2011 and directed Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to review afresh the clearance.

The steel plant, proposed at Jagatsinghpur district in Orissa, is hanging fire for over six years due to land acquisition hurdles.

Likewise Vedanta’s USD 1.7 billion bauxite mining project at Niyamgiri hills in Orissa has been stuck for long for various clearances.

“…since countries like us who are having natural resources will be able to set up the mineral-based industries at very competitive prices compared to what these developed countries manufacture, the developed countries put all sorts of impediments through local NGOs and provoking people against these mineral based industries in developing countries,” the letter said.

It added that the Prime Minister himself had talked about vested interests involvement in creating a problem in Kudankulam Atomic Power Project.

“Once you (Prime Minister) made public statement, everything came out in the open: NGOs were booked and the whole movement fizzled out,” it added.

[Source – Zee News]

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