Reported by Santosh Jagdev/Edited by Sandeep Sahu
Bhubaneswar, Oct 3:
Describing the United Nation Human Rights panel’s recent suggestion to South Korean steel giant Posco to immediately halt its $12-billion mega port-based steel plant project in Odisha as ‘highly motivated’, Utkal Bharat president Kharabela Swain on Thursday urged Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to oppose the UN move tooth and nail.
Addressing a press conference at Utkal Sambadika Bhawan here today, Swain said the panel’s apprehensions about displacement of thousands of people and disruption in their livelihoods were totally misplaced.
“The panel report published by the International Human Rights Clinic at New York University’s School of Law and the International Network for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights is not based on facts and ground realities. Neither there are any forest lands nor any tribals staying at the proposed Posco project site. All land acquired for the project belong to Government. Is it an offence to evict encroachers from Government land?,” the former Balasore MP said.
“The report, he said, was published on the basis of recommendations of certain NGOs and some western countries with mala fide intention,” alleged Swain.
He also came down heavily on Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for not strongly opposing the report and not visiting the project site even once in the last nine years.
The Utkal Bharat president said some western countries never want countries like India to develop. “They use UN and NGOs to defame our country in the name of human rights violations. For example, certain NGOs had used foreign funds received for social and religious purposes to fuel protests against Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant in Tamil Nadu violating foreign exchange regulatory rules”, said Swain. The financial status of anti-Posco activists had seen a quantum jump in recent years, he alleged.