POSCO Loot Of Our Mineral Wealth And Environment

Is Far Worse Than The 2G Scam
By Leo F. Saldanha

Mr. Jairam Ramesh, Minister of State with independent charge for Environment and Forests in the Government of India, cleared the diversion of 3,000 acres of forest land comprising a major part of the 4,000 acres required for the POSCO Steel-power-port project in the ecologically sensitive Jagatsinghpur district in Orissa. Jairam Ramesh’s pro POSCO decision was released on the evening of 2 nd May on the Ministry’s website . He thus paved the way for acquisition of land for a most controversial project. However, the current decision does not take into account massive additional demands of land required for the project’s industrial township and associated water, road and rail infrastructure, and also the most controversial iron ore mining component proposed in the thickly forested and mountainous Kandadhar region which is now a subject of litigation.
This project has been peacefully resisted by local communities for six years now; their staunch resistance to the project demonstrated in their refusal to allow entry of any State or company official into the affected villages. The reaction of the State has been brutal and has involved harsh police action against women, children and men, and the filing of false criminal charges against most adults in the project affected villages – some leaders have been wrongfully arrested and others falsely accused of over 40 crimes, most with serious implications to their normal day to day functioning. All this in a vain attempt to break a fantastic peoples movement, which has resolutely remained peaceful in its methods, in a landscape that is otherwise known for violent resistance to the State’s hegemonic efforts to dispossess communities from forests and farms to favour highly questionable projects benefiting the rich and large corporate houses.
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