INDIA/SOUTH KOREA: Call to join “Dhinkia Chalo” on March 13 

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) wishes to forward to you the following press release from Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS).

Asian Human Rights Commission
Hong Kong

A Press Release from Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) forwarded by the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)

We earnestly appeal to all the concerned citizens, friends and well wishers to join us the call on “Dhinikia Chalo” (at Balithutha) on 13th of March 2010 from Bhubaneswar to Dhinkia. This call was made at the state level convention organized at Bhubaneswar on 1st March 2011, against the proposed POSCO project in our land.

The leaders of different political parties, including the , Communist Party of India, the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the Forward Bloc, the Samajwadi Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal , SCCI Communist, CPIML (liberation), Congress party and National Congress Party ( NCP), Odisha Jan Adihikara Manch, Samjabadi Jan Parishad, Lok Shakti Abhiyan, Niyamagiri Surakshya Samti, OJAM, leaders from anti-Tata power plant project at Naraj, Pashima Odisha Krushak Samanya Samiti, Movement on Anti-Vedant university at Puri, Social Activists, Members of Civil Societies and Progressive Intellectuals participated in the convention and decided the following .

1. Call on “Dhinkia Chalo” at Balithutha on 13th of March 2011
2. Observance of Anti-POSCO Day
3. Organise padaytra (foot march) from Cuttack to Dhinkia against the water diversion from the river Mahandi for the proposed POSCO projects

As you may know, the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), Govt of India granted conditional clearance on 31st January 2011 to the proposed POSCO Project to set up a 12 Metric ton per annum steel plant , a 400 megawatt power plant and a captive port in Jagatsingur district of Odisha. The ministry has cleared the project with 60 conditions. But merely imposing “conditions” will achieve nothing when the entire forest and environmental clearance process is illegal and the entire project itself will have serious impacts on environment and livelihood of local people.
The report of the majority members of the POSCO Review Committee clearly states that there is gross violation of environmental laws, fabrication of evidence, suppression of information, and perpetuation of forest rights violations. The statutory body like the Forest Advisory Committee of MOEF made a unanimous decision to recommend withdrawal of the forest clearance. The majority members of Meena Gupta Panel recommended even prosecution of the authorities who violated the provisions of the Forest Rights Act (FRA) and other environmental laws. Instead of taking action against all these violations, the ministry has given a clean chit to these authorities and the company. We are strongly condemning the conditional clearance granted by the MoEF and demand this project be scrapped altogether.

According to one of the conditions set by the Union environment Ministry, the Government has to give an assurance that not a single person is entitled to benefits under the Forest Rights Act, and then only final forest clearance will be given by the ministry. The government is likely to finalise the report and submit to MOEF in 2nd week of March. It is obvious that in the report, the government will make all effort to argue that there are no other traditional forest dwellers (OTFDs) in the POSCO project area and no violation of Forest Rights Act 2006 has taken place. This is however quite incorrect and misleading information. The state administration had not been fair or democratic in implementing the Forest Rights Act. We have been living in these areas for ages and we all have documentary evidence in favour of existence of tribals and OTFDs.

On 21st and 23rd March, the Gram Sabhas (Village Council meeting) were held at the village Dhinkia and Govindpur passed separate resolutions opposing the Posco project. We have made fresh claim under the Forest Rights Act 2006 to regularize our land.

We are apprehensive that from March 2011 onwards, the Government of Odisha, is all set to forcefully enter and acquire our land on behalf of South Korea based Pohang Steel Company (POSCO). We have decided to continue and intensify our democratic struggle till POSCO company withdraws from the area. Members of Eight Parliamentary parties will join us in the public meeting on 13th March 2011. We urge all our friends and well wishers to join us in the public meeting, show their solidarity and extend their support to build mass opinion against the POSCO project.

Travel plan on 13th March 2011

– Boarding the train Puri-Paradeep passenger at 7am from Bhubaneswar and 8.30 am from Cuttack.
– Get down at the station Bada Bandha (Before Paradeep Railway station ) at 10 am ( the distance from Bada bandha to Balithutha is 4 KM away)
– Public meeting at Balithutha 120’clock to 3 PM at Balithitha
– Return by the train Paradeep – Puri Passanger from Bada Bandha at 5.30 pm

In solidarity,

For more details, please contact:

Prashant Paikary
Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS)
Phone: +91 943 757 1547

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Document Type : Forwarded Press Release
Document ID : AHRC-FPR-016-2011
Countries : India, South Korea,
Issues : Environmental protection,