Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, Jan 14:
Intensifying its protest against the decision of the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) to accord environment clearance to the proposed steel plant near Paradip by South Kkorean steel major Posco just ahead of the four-day visit of South Korean President Park Geun-Hye to India, Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) has decided to stage dharna at different places of the country, including the national capital and the state capital, against the project on January 15, the day the South Korean President arrives in the country.
“Our people in Dhinkia, Patna, Govindpur and Nuagaon villages have taken a resolve to intensify our struggle to ensure that Posco is ousted from our soil. To protest against the coalition of two hostile governments (in the state and at the centre) and the atrocities perpetrated on our democratic and peace loving population, we are going to organize a massive dharana at Dhinkia on January 15. Similar protests will also be organized in the capital city of the state. Solidarity groups have also decided to launch protests in other cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore and Chennai,” said Prsahant Paikray, spokesperson for PPSS in a press release.
Stating that the MoEF clearance to the steel project imposed on the unwilling population of the area had shocked all, he said the approval of the Centre had defied democracy and the dignity of nation as Veerapa Moily, the present minister of MoEF made this audacious declaration just before the arrival of South Korea President.
Park Geun-Hye is scheduled to visit from 15-18 January.
“You can’t separate mines from the plant and the plant from the port. You can’t also ignore the fact that certain matters are still being tried in the National Green Tribunal (NGT),” said Paikray accusing the government of deceiving the people on the issue.
The PPSS also attacked the BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi for not uttering a single word against Moily while he blamed the former Minister of MoEF Jayanti Natrajan. “If Narendra Modi says it was the past MoEF minister who was taking “Jayanti Tax”, why he is so happy over Moily when this Minister has already gloated that he had cleared projects worth Rs Rs 1.5 lakh crore? If there is any ‘Moily Tax’ of 10 percent it would come to 15, 00, 00 million rupees,” said the release.
“We don’t know if money is playing any role. But from Modi’s accusation, it became clear that MoEF is clearing projects because big capital is involved and the concerned ruling parties (which also include BJP) are benefiting out of it at the cost of peoples’ peace and happiness. We are encouraged to learn that our tribal brothers and sisters have put up a strong resistance against the proposed mining at Khandadhar Hills, Sundargarh district,” said Paikray.