Do not ignore palli sabha resolutions: Jairam

Bhubaneswar: Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) on Thursday asked the state government not to ignore palli sabha resolutions of Dhinkia and Govindpur which would tantamount to violation of Forest Rights Act (FRA), 2006.

The move came after Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS), an organization spearheading anti-Posco movement, shot off an e-mail representation to MoEF on Monday (April 11) alleging that palli sabha resolutions of Dhinkia and Govindpur have not been considered by the concerned district administration. In view of this, any assurance report submitted by the state government would be illegal.

"After receiving information from the state government that the appropriate authority has completed the process of recognition and verification procedure for all the villages from where the forest land is to be transferred for non-forestry purposes, a final decision regarding forest clearance will be taken," Ramesh said.

"Ignoring these two Palli Sabha (village council) resolutions and not allowing them to be subjected to a due process of law as enshrined in the Forest Rights Act, 2006 would be tantamount, in my considered opinion, to violating the very essence of this legislation passed unanimously and with acclaim by Parliament," the minister said.

It may be noted here that PPSS forwarded the mail to MoEF two days before state government submitted FRA compliance report on Posco to the ministry.

In its report, the state government had assured that no one satisfies the conditions laid down under Section 2(o) of the Scheduled Tribes & Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 to be treated as other traditional forest dwellers in the forest and involved in the Posco project area.
Earlier on January 31, the MoEF had issued a conditional clearance of the project for setting up 12 mtpa steel plant in Jagatsinghpur. The project required about 4000 hectares of land, of which 2900 hectares falls under forest land category.