CPI today sought reversal of the environmental clearance granted to South Korean giant Posco's steel plant in Odisha, asking the government not to "run rough-shod" over the recommendations of the National Green Tribunal and the "popular resistance" against the project.
"Government should take note of the popular resistance and also the opposition of the National Green Tribunal under the Forest Conservation Act. It should not ride rough-shod over all this opposition in the name of development," the party's Central Secretariat said in a statement.
Strongly opposing the green signal granted by the Environment Ministry to the eight million tonne per annum steel plant project, it demanded its reversal saying, "We are all for development with people's consent." It said the clearance was given "after Veerappa Moily, the hit-man of the corporates now installed as the Environment Minister, has taken a U-turn overturning the earlier decision of the Ministry."
CPI alleged that the decision was taken "by a sleight of hand de-linking the proposals of 'captive port' and 'mining' of iron ore from the proposal of the steel plant. It is well- known that the original proposal at Posco was for an integrated project."
"De-linking the other parts gives rise to the suspicion that at a later date clearances would be given on a piecemeal basis," the statement said.
It said thousands of villagers led by the Posco Pratirodh Samiti has been resisting acquisition of land in a designated forest area for over eight years, facing severe repression. "It turns out that even now only 1703 acres out of the original demand of 4000 acres is in the possession of Posco as claimed by it. The idea is to force the people out of their land bit by bit," the CPI said.