POSCO: Majority Committee Report Confirms Project Illegal

Campaign for Survival and Dignity

The Campaign welcomes the majority report of the POSCO enquiry committee released today. Three of the four members confirmed that the project is illegal and was granted clearances in violation of the law. Some key findings include:

* The forest clearance was illegal and the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) had no right to divert the land without the consent of the gram sabhas of the area.

* The people of the area are indeed eligible under the Forest Rights Act.

* The project may have a dangerous environmental impact on large numbers of people through its impact on water availability, air pollution, flooding, etc. Even when these issues were raised by government authorities such as the regional MoEF office and the State Pollution Control Board, both the Orissa authorities and the MoEF ignored them.

* The project was given environmental clearance in violation of the law and of procedure. The public hearing was a farce.

* POSCO suppressed facts in order to get around the law.

This confirms the facts brought up earlier by the POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti, the CPI and numerous people’s movements over the past five years. Once again, the process of “development projects” in this country has been exposed as a criminal exercise in resource grabbing.

As expected, Meena Gupta, the former secretary of Environment who granted the environment clearance for this project, has dissented and said the clearance should stand. She has also tried to say that forest rights should be recognised “with a time limit” and that then the project can go ahead. This position flies in the face of law and justice. We have already had one experience of Ms. Gupta when she was the Secretary of Tribal Affairs and contributed greatly to the last minute dilution and sabotage of the Forest Rights Act just prior to its passage. Given her clear conflict of interest and the fact that three others of widely different perspectives disagreed with her, there is no reason to give her position much weight.

The Executive Summary of the Meena Gupta Committee Report
The Complete Report

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