Not against any projects in Odisha: Ramesh

Bhubaneswar: Union Minister for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh here on Friday rejected BJD`s allegation of discrimination against Odisha.  He said the matter relating to Posco steel project was in the "state government`s court."

“I am not against any projects in Odisha including Posco. I have sought clarification from the State Government on certain matters relating to the Posco project. The ball is not in my court, but in the State Government`s court,” Jairam Ramesh told mediapersons soon after he arrived in the State Capital.

Ruling out visiting the proposed Posco plant site where people opposing the project staged a dharna, demanding cancellation of the environmental clearance to the mega steel project, Ramesh said, "My tour is only for Bhitarkanika and review of Integrated Coastal Zone Management Project (ICZMP)."

The villagers who support the Posco project had also invited Ramesh to visit the proposed plant site to assess the truth behind their rivals` claim about the Rs 52,000 crore mega steel plant.

Dismissing allegations of discrimination made by the ruling BJD government headed by Naveen Patnaik, Ramesh said it was not true that his ministry adopted different yeardsticks for projects in Odisha and Polavaram in Andhra Pradesh.

"Polavaram project is also issued stop work order. Same yardstick is used for Odisha and other states, same for the BJD and for the Congress," Ramesh said.

After an hour, Ramesh left for Gupti in Kendrapara to attend a function in which he would launch the field level programmes of ICZMP and release the shoreline change atlas of the State.

He is also scheduled to spend the night at Bhitarkanika wildlife sanctuary and national park and later meet CM Naveen Patnaik before returning to New Delhi on Saturday.

ICZMP, a pilot basis in three States including Odisha, would be implemented with the support from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests with an integrated approach to coordinate activities of various government agencies and departments for the sustainable management and usages of coastal resources maintaining the natural environment.