'Non-agricultural land for Posco better option'



Bhubaneswar: Stressing that the poor must not be pushed aside to set up the Posco steel plant in Orissa, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday said if non-agricultural land was available for the project, it would be a better option.

"If there is land available (for Posco project) which is not agricultural land, it will be a better solution," the Congress general secretary told reporters here before winding up his two-day Orissa visit.

Asking the state government to fulfill 30 conditions set by the Ministry of Environment and Forests with regard to the Posco project, he said, "Our stand on Posco is very clear ... the poor people should not be pushed aside."

Maintaining that there is no double standard on the part of Congress regarding the Posco project, the Nehru-Gandhi scion said it wants adequate compensation to the affected people and their proper rehabilitation.

The young Congress leader was responding to queries on the state Congress leaders opposing the mega project and demanding its relocation to some barren land even after forest and environmental clearance was given by the Centre.

"We want the rights of the people to be safeguarded and fulfillment of 30 conditions by the state government while setting up the project," he said, adding that it would be fine if the state government meets all the requirements.

Pointing out that Posco and Bhatta Parsaul issues in Uttar Pradesh are similar, Gandhi said both pertain to transfer of land from the poor to the rich.

While there is no problem with the project and the infrastucture, the basic issue revolves around what the people are finally going to get, Gandhi said.

PTI