NGT halts tree cutting drive at Posco site

Bhubaneswar: The Jagatsinghpur district administration, which has been continuing the land acquisition process by cutting trees and dismantling betel vines for the Posco project, has to halt the deforestation drive as the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Tuesday reportedly ordered status quo at the proposed project site.
 
The Tribunal has issued notice to both State and Central government and Posco India in this regard. The State government has also been directed to maintain status quo till July 11 at the mega steel project site. The next hearing will be held in July.
 
Social activist Prafulla Samantaray filed a petition before the NGT alleging that around 2.8 lakh trees were axed illegally. The petitioner also complained that the State Government continued tree cutting programme violating the environmental norms.
 
The tribunal in March 2012, suspended environment clearance and asked the ministry to review it saying that the ministry had failed to deal with major environmental concerns while speeding the clearance. The project has been hanging since 2006 due to environmental reasons.
 
On the other hand, anti Posco activists have welcomed such notification of the tribunal to stop felling of trees.