Bhubaneswar, Dec 8:
BJD MLA Dambaru Sisa on Monday said he is not opposing the Posco project, which aims to mine iron ore from Khandadhar hills in Odisha’s Sundargarh district.
As a member of the State Level Monitoring Committee of Forest Rights Act, the legislator said he has “every right to know the progress and ensure the interest of the tribal people for which he had taken such an initiative”.
The reaction of the BJD MLA came after the media reported that he has urged the state government to recognise the forest rights of Pauri Bhuyan tribals, a Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG), on Khandadhar hills.
The first MLA of Bonda community, a PVTG in Malkangiri district, has written a letter to the Sundargarh collector to implement the forest rights of Pauri Bhuyan residing on hills.
He, however, clarified that he has sent letters to district collectors of eight tribal dominated districts of Mayurbhanj, Kendujhar, Sundargarh, Malkangiri, Rayagada, Koraput, Gajapati and Nabarangapur to inform him over the progress in implementation of Forest Rights Act in their respective districts.
It may be noted that the Pauri Bhuyan tribals are protesting the decision of the state government to allow Posco India to mine khandadhar hills for the company’s proposed $12 billion steel plant in Jagatsinghpur district.
Recently, the state government recommended prospecting license over Khandadhar iron ore deposits in favour of Posco India.
It recommended iron ore mining over a notified area of 2,082.502 hectares out of the total 2,500 hectares that make up the Khandadhar deposit.