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Congress sees gaps in Posco pact

Bhubaneswar, Nov. 13: The Congress’s state unit today said that certain conditions in the MoU signed between the Orissa government and the South Korean steel major, Posco, were not in the “interest of the state, as well as the nation” — especially seeing the matter in the context of Bengal’s Nandigram episode.

“We are not averse to the (Posco) steel project, which is the biggest foreign direct (FDI) investment in the country. But, the project should satisfy certain parameters for the interest of the nation,” said Ajay Maken, Union urban development minister and AICC general secretary, in-charge of Orissa.

The state executive of the Orissa Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC), which met here today, stated some parameters for foreign projects.

These include a prohibition on the construction of captive ports and captive mines to the steel and coal majors, a prohibition on construction of plants on fertile or arable land and the export of minerals.

A resolution to this effect was adopted at the OPCC executive meeting after deliberations.

Maken, who was in the city to attend the meeting today, said the Centre was not party to the conditions in the MoU signed between the Orissa government and Posco.

“We will apprise the stand taken in the Orissa Pradesh Congress Commitee’s state executive meeting to the Prime Minister’s office and also to our party high command,” added the AICC leader.

The minister added that the Union ministry of environment and forest has not yet given its clearance to Vedanta Alumina’s bauxite mining project in Kalahandi.

Also, the clearance for its proposed 1MT alumina refinery at Lanjigarh was given on the basis of “false assumption” by the Orissa government. Chief minister Naveen Patnaik had laid the foundation stone of the alumina refinery in 2004 hastily without the environment clearance, he alleged. The leader warned that Naveen Patnaik is “keen on reckless industrialisation” at the cost of forest and environment.

Maken added that as a result of this “recklessness” the state was on the brink of an environmental disaster.

 

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