Govt likely to submit report on Posco on Wednesday

Bhubaneswar: The state government is likely to submit its assurance report on April 13 with the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) on proper implementation of Forest Rights Act-2006 (FRA) for acquiring final clearance for the proposed Posco project.

While according conditional clearance, MoEF had set conditions before the state government that no tribals or non traditional forest dwellers are inhabitating in the proposed project site before 75 years. This apart, Centre sought assurance that these dwellers were not dependent on the forest lands for their livelihood. Besides, the villagers should not have taken lands under their possession before 13, December 2005.

These above conditions were laid by the Centre so as to grant final clearance for diversion of forest lands.

In the meantime, state Chief Secretary has said, the state government has met all the conditions set by MoEF and the report has been approved by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

“Centre had asked for assurance report. We examined implementation of FRA and found that no traditional forest dwellers, are per the Act, are staying in the proposed site,” Chief Secretary B K Patnaik said.

Earlier, the state government referred the concerned district collector to review implementation of FRA after two petitions were filed before Centre. Notably, palli sabhas were conducted on February 21 at the project site by anti-project groups which were declared illegal by the district administration.

It may be recalled that MoEF had accorded conditional clearance to Posco project on January 31 and asked the state government to file assurance report for acquiring final clearance for the proposed steel mill at Jagatsinghpur.