Biju Mathew, an American professor from India who is also active for the ‘Mining Zone Peoples Solidarity Group (MZPSG), visited Both ENDS’ office in Amsterdam on January 19th. He was returning from a ‘fact-finding mission’ in the province of Orissa in India, where Korean steel company POSCO has plans for building a steel plant, several iron ore mines, roads, a railroad and a private harbor.
The Dutch pension fund ABP invests 64 million euros in this huge project. If the plans go ahead at least 22,000 farmers and 30,000 fishermen will be displaced and lose their primary source of income. Moreover, irreversible environmental damage will be caused. People from local villages have been objecting the plans for years already, but their protests are being brutally suppressed by police and local militias. Farmlands have been deliberately destroyed and the villagers are attacked repeatedly. The area is completely shut off from the outside world and the locals are captive in their own villages, without access to medical care.
During the public meeting on January 19 at Both ENDS, Mathew gave insight into the problem and the current state of affairs. Mathew and MZPSG make an urgent appeal to ABP to withdraw from the project. Both ENDS supports Mathew and his fellow activists in their battle against POSCO’s plans. On January 23, a Dutch national newspaper published an article on the subject after having interviewed Mathews. To date, the ABP has not withdrawn from the project.
For additional information see the article ‘ABP must withdraw from steel project in India’ in the Volkskrant of Monday, January 23 this year
[Source – Both ENDS]