Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, June 8:
In a significant statement, the Union minister for Tribal Affairs Jual Oram today said his stand on the proposed mining project in Khandadhar hill in Odisha’s Sundargarh district remains unchanged.
” My stand on mining in Khandadhar hills remains unchanged. In fact I am against any project that has the potential to harm the natural environment or cause displacement. I am for zero displacement and zero harm to natural heritage,” the Union minister said while addressing a media conference at the State Guest House today.
Oram has been opposing the idea of handing over the iron ore mine in Khandadhar to the South Korean steel behemoth Posco ever since the proposal was mooted by the state government in 2007, on the ground that the area is rich in biodiversity and that largescale mining activity would not only lead to displacement but destroy the livelihood and water sources of the local tribal population.
He said, if necessary, he would convey his stand and apprehensions over the proposed mining of iron ore in Khandadhar by Posco to the concerned ministries at the Centre.
The Union minister also made a oblique reference to the stiff resistance to the Posco project at its proposed plant site by saying people who were in Posco’s transit camp all these years have now deserted it and are returning to their homes.
” Does this not say enough about how the local people feel about the project,” he asked.