Congress leaders demand Orissa CM Patnaik’s resignation over POSCO land

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

NEW DELHI - Congress leaders staged a sit in protest here on Tuesday and demanded the resignation of Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik alleging that rules were not followed, while giving land to South Korean steel major POSCO to set up its proposed $12 billion plant in the state.

The leaders, who staged a protest outside the Parliament, said the High Court has made it clear that rules were not followed in giving land to POSCO.

“High court has clearly given put a verdict, stating this as clearly a fraud case. The regular rules have not been applied in granting land to Vedanta, so in other case. So, on the basis of High Court structure we demand for the removal of Naveen Patnaik’s government,” R.C.Khuntia, a leader from Orissa.

The $12 billion South Korean steel mill, touted as India”s biggest foreign direct investment, has already been delayed by more than three years as the project faced delays because of environmental worries and protests by local residents concerned about the mill”s impact on their agriculture-based livelihoods.

The world number three steel-maker”s 12-million-tonnes a year plant in India now needs final approval from Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh after all work on the project, including land acquisition, was halted in August, while the majority panel investigated alleged violations of the Forest Rights Act by POSCO.

Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh had earlier on Friday said POSCO ’s proposal is under review from “environment point of view”.

Ramesh said the POSCO proposal’s review would also end shortly.

“I am operating on the assumption that the POSCO proposal in Orissa is under review from a forest point of view, is under review from an environment point of view and CRZ (Coastal Regulation Zone) point of view,” said Ramesh at an event here today.

“I can say anything as to what the end result of this review will be or when this review will come to an end. Obviously it is not going to take much. It is going to take a couple of weeks,” he added. (ANI)

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