FAC advises environment ministry to reject forest nod to Posco

FAC advises environment ministry to reject forest nod to Posco

New Delhi: In a setback to South Korean giant Posco’s Rs54,000 crore integrated steel plant in Orissa, a forestry panel has advised the union environment ministry to reject the forest nod given to it.

If Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) recommendations are accepted by environment minister Jairam Ramesh in toto, the project at Jagatsinghpur, which is billed as the largest single dose of FDI in the country, will meet the similar fate as that of Vedanta’s bauxite mining proposal in Niyamgiri in Orissa.

Vedanta had to shelve its plans of mining bauxite after its initial clearance was withdrawn by the environment ministry citing violation of green norms.

At present, no construction work and land acquisition is being carried out by Orissa government for the Posco project as ordered by the environment ministry which acted on the recommendations by NC Saxena panel that accused it of forest rights violation.

On 9-10 November, the Expert Appraisal Committees (EACs) on Infrastructure and Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) of the environment ministry will appraise alleged violation of green and coastal regulation norms as pointed out by the Saxena Committee.

Sources said the recommendation to cancel the forest clearance came after some of the members of FAC in a recent meeting expressed their resentment at the violations of Forest Rights Act at the site where Posco proposes to set up an integrated steel plant cum captive port.

Some of the members had also suggested FRA violation were something that could be corrected by the state government. However, the majority decision ruled which sought rejection of forest clearance.

It is learnt that the environment ministry will take a final call on the project next Monday after EACs meeting.