Posco: Villagers want CBI probe into FRA violation

Encouraged by the Centre`s direction to stop project related works at the proposed plant site, anti-Posco activists are now demanding a CBI probe into the alleged violation of Forest Rights Act, 2006.

Updated: Aug 09, 2010, 21:29 PM IST

Bhubaneswar: Encouraged by the Centre`s
direction to stop project related works at the proposed plant
site, anti-Posco activists are now demanding a CBI probe into
the alleged violation of Forest Rights Act, 2006.

"The Saxena Committee has detected violation of the
Act by the state government. We demand a CBI probe into it as
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik claimed that the state
government carried out land acquisition activities only after
the Centre gave forest clearance to the project," said Posco
Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) president Abhay Sahu.

Besides violating rules, the Orissa government was
also accused of withholding relevant information regarding the
holding of Gram Sabha, a pre-requisite for recommending
forest clearance for any project, he said adding they have
produced land records since 1913 before the Saxena Committee.

"When hundreds of families were dependant on the
forest land for eking out their living since generations, the
state government, in its report to the Ministry of Environment
and Forest, had tried the suppress the fact," he claimed.

"We demand legal action against officials involved in
violation of the Forest Rights Act," said state CPI secretary
Dibakar Nayak alleging the then collector of Jagatsinghpur
district had forged Gram Sabha resolution submitted to the
union ministry.

Meanwhile, the opposition Congress demanded
resignation of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who is also in
charge of the state`s forest department.

"Patnaik should step down on moral grounds," Congress
chief whip Prasad Harichandan said.

The ruling BJD, however, accused the central
government of adopting "double standards".

-PTI