Centre sets up panel to probe Posco charges

In further trouble for South Korean giant Posco, the Centre today set up a four-member panel to probe alleged forest rights violations at the multinational`s proposed steel plant in Jagatsinghpur in Orissa.

Updated: Jul 28, 2010, 23:50 PM IST

New Delhi: In further trouble for South
Korean giant Posco, the Centre today set up a four-member
panel to probe alleged forest rights violations at the
multinational`s proposed steel plant in Jagatsinghpur in
Orissa.

"We have constituted a fact-finding team headed by former
Environment Secretary Meena Gupta to probe the violation of
the tribal rights under the Forest Rights Act at the project
site," Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said.

The South Korean steel major`s trouble started soon after
it was given approval for diversion of 1,253 hectares of
forest land for setting up a USD 12-billion integrated iron
and steel plant along with a captive power plant near Paradip
the state.

It has been facing land acquisition problem with
allegations of violations of rights of tribals who owns the
land there.

The panel was formed after the Ministry took a serious
note of the Orissa Government`s "casual approach" to its
direction to supply a compliance report drafted in Oriya in
translated versions in Hindi and English language.

Giving the sequence of the matter, a senior Environment
official said that on January 8, the ministry had informed the
state government that no forest land should be handed over to
the user agency (Posco) before the settlement of the tribal
rights under the provision of Forest Rights Act.

"But we got a lot of complaints from elected
representatives and NGOs against the compliance report which
was put on the website of the ministry. But despite repeated
reminders, the state authorities are yet to provide us the
translated version of the report," the official said.

The team comprising Uma Pingle, V Suresh, an advocate for
human rights and Devendra Pandey, an IFS official, has been
asked to submit its report within two months, he added.

PTI

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