Ignoring the forest dwellers’ continued protest against the POSCO Plant in Odissa, the Indian Government has finally yielded to the mounting corporate pressure. It has now given forest clearance to the project. This anti-people act of the Indian Government shows that the MoEF lacks the political will to implement Forest Rights Act in right earnest. In fact the clearance letter issued today by the Minister of Environment and Forests, Mr. Jairam Ramesh makes it explicit that the Government will not pay even scant heed to the laws of the land.
The claim that there were no quorums in the meetings of the Palli Sabha where such resolutions were taken is a barefaced lie. In fact the Palli Sabha resolutions were adopted in meeting attending by more than 70 per cent of villagers. The signatures of the villagers were duly submitted to Odissa Government as evidence. The MoEF does have the copies of these evidences yet it preferred to ignore them.
Similarly, the plea taken by the Government that Palli Sabhas were not legally convened is another blatant lie. Moreover, invoking Odissa Gram Panchayat Rules 1964 in this case is legally untenable and invalid. The FRA is a Central Act and most potent in its domain; no other central Acts, let alone state Acts can be used in overriding its provisions.
It seems that MoEF believes in obliging the PM rather then taking the legal and democratic rules in exercising its duties and wisdom. With this clearance to POSCO, the MoEF and Minister, Jairam Ramesh has seemingly got into a trap which they will find difficult to get out of.
To elaborate further, we invite you to the Press Conference on –
Date: May 4, 2011
Time: 3.00 p.m. to 5.00 p.m.
Venue: Indian Women’s Press Corp, 5, Windsor Place, New Delhi 110 001
Kindly make yourself available at this crucial press meet.
Amit Bhaduri, K. B. Saxena, Sumit Chakraborty, Anil K. Chaudhary, Usha Ramanathan, Ritwick Dutta, Representative from PPSS and others
POSCO Pratirodh Solidarity (PPS) in Association with INSAF, NAPM, NFFPFW, and others
Any Information Please Contact:
Souparna Lahiri -9818147740, Seela-9212587159, Ramesh-9818111562