MNCs funding elected representatives: Medha Patkar
Puri: Noted social activist Medha Patkar has alleged that multinational companies are not only providing funding for elections, but also to individual elected representatives.
Addressing hundreds of tribals during a week-long rally to oppose proposed projects by South Korean steel maker POSCO and the mining group Vedanta Resources near here, Patkar said: "These industries are not labour-intensive. These are becoming corporate power and they are holding and ruling this country because they are now not only funding the elections but also funding the individual elected representatives.”
“That is what has given them such an extra unconstitutional power that the decisions related to the development plans and projects that are no more rational, no more legal, no more constitutional,” she added.
Threatened by these projects, the tribals and other affected villagers have formed a powerful people`s movement named Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti and Vedanta Vishvavidyalaya Virodhi Sangharash Samiti.
Patkar said such projects would only benefit corporates and not the tribals.
Covering a distance of 150 kilometres, over 200 tribals hailing from 120 villages began their protest rally from Dhinkia village on Saturday.
The Vedanta Resources wants to mine bauxite for its aluminium refinery in Orissa.
The project, however, has been bogged down since 2005 since tribals opposed it saying it will rob vulnerable residents of their ancestral homes and also traditional means of livelihood.
According to officials of the Vedanta Resources, the company has so far invested USD 823 million in the plant, and it will spend another USD 1.23 billion to expand the capacity to six million tonnes from one million tonnes by 2011.
Ranked number four among the steel makers in the world, POSCO has said that it requires about 4,000 acres of land, of which a large part is forested.
But the social activists have contended that the construction will force the tribal villagers off their farmland and displace about 20,000 people.
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