Pradeep Pattanayak

The BJD-led Odisha government has been in the crosshairs for allegedly showing undue favour to the proposed JSW project at Dhinkia in Jagatsinghpur district. 

Laying into the State government, Odisha Congress Pravari A Chela Kumar on January 22 had asked as to at what authority the JSW entered the village and dismantled the livelihood of the poor farmers even though no MoU or land lease agreement was done. 

Similarly, an RTI activist, Manas Ranjan Kar also accused the State government of creating panic among the people by using police force and destroying their betel vine plantations. 

“Environment clearance for the proposed project has not been granted. The Water Resources Department is also yet to give its final approval as to how much water the project will use from the Mahanadi river. No land lease has been signed as yet. In such a situation, destroying poor farmers’ betel leaf vine can never be accepted,” alleged Kar. 

Notably, at the 17th meeting of the high-level clearing authority, which was held on June 2, 2017, approval was granted for the JSW’s 10 MTPA steel plant and 900 MW power plant. On the basis of that approval, the State government is pulling all stops to pave the way to set up the plant. 

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in its letter dated January 13 clearly mentioned it that a meeting to issue environment clearance to the JSW’s project will be convened on January 28. 

It means, so far, the most necessary environment clearance for the proposed project has not been issued.
  
Besides, the IDCO has sought permission with respect to the land from the Jagatsinghpur district revenue department. Most importantly, the State Water Resources Department has also not issued the final permission to the JSW to lift 99.80 Cusec water per day.    

Meanwhile, the Odisha unit of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) also cornered the State government for hurting its own people for a non-Odia company. 

“An agreement with conditions will have to be signed between the JSW and the government. It will be regarded as a public document. Setting up a plant without this agreement raises a question mark,” said BJP leader Bibhu Tarai. 

Taking a damage control stand, Water Resources Minister Raghunandan Das said the MoU has been signed and the company authorities had said in the last public hearing meeting that they would get the environment clearance soon.  

On the other hand, it has also been alleged that the direction of the High Court to provide medicine and food articles to the injured persons of Dhinkia has also not been followed. 

The affected people alleged that no government official has visited them yet. “The administration is not giving us any medicine or food. We don’t have money to buy medicine,” alleged Kuni Mallick, a Dhinkia resident.

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