Monday, November 29, 1999

CPI urges PM to review Posco steel porject

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New Delhi, May 16 (IANS) The Communist Party of India (CPI) Sunday urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to review the clearance given to South Korean steel major Posco for a project in Orissa that has triggered violence in the state's Jagatsinghpur district.CPI leader D. Raja in a letter to Manmohan Singh alleged that the Orissa government was attacking peaceful protesters against the Posco project, which is 'in direct violation of the law'.'I am writing in the context of the brutal attack of the Orissa police on the peaceful protesters,' Raja said in the letter.At least nine people were injured Saturday after police used force to disperse villagers protesting a steel plant project by Posco.The Communist leader said that 3,000 of the 4,000 acres of land to be given for Posco's steel plant is a forest area.'Under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, many of the people of the area are eligible for rights over this land, especially the lands they are cultivating, as they have been living in the area for more than 75 years,' he said.Posco, one of the world's biggest steel makers, signed the deal with the Orissa government in June 2005 to set up the project near the port town of Paradip in Jagatsinghpur, by 2016.The project has, however, been delayed for over three years due to various reasons, including protests of local residents.Raja said the project was 'nothing less than an attempt to strip this country's mineral resources for a foreign multinational, with no benefit to either the people of the area or the economy of this country.''I urge upon you to immediately intervene, instruct the environment ministry to withdraw the illegal clearance, review the Posco project in light of the fact that it is a notorious blacklisted multinational, and halt the police atrocities against the struggling people of the area,' Raja said in the letter to the prime minister.

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