New Delhi, Jan 13:
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has postponed the hearing on the petition against tree felling in the proposed site for the Posco steel plant project near Paradip in Odisha to January 21.
The hearing in the matter was scheduled today but could not be taken up for lack of quorum, sources said. However, the real reason behind the postponement was the absence of the NGT head Justice Swatanter Kumar who chose to stay away after the apex court decided to take up the sexual harassment case against him for hearing.
Land acquisition for the project was suspended in May last year after the National Green Tribunal ordered a stay on the felling of trees in the project area. The stay would be in force until at least January 21 when the next hearing takes place.
This means the green clearance granted to the Posco steel plant project by the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) last week is not complete. The state government can not also transfer the additional 1000 acres to the project unless the NGT stay on the forest clearance for the project is lifted.
More significantly, Posco steel project will not be enjoying the status of a fully cleared project during the South Korean president’s India visit which begins on January 15. Its controversial status may prevent the Korean president from visiting the proposed site, sources said.