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Ramesh Awaits FAC report on Posco

November 10, 2010 12:44 IST
PoscoUnion Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh would decide the fate of the Rs 54,000-crore (Rs 540-billion) Posco steel project in Orissa after the Forest Advisory Committee gives its recommendations on the alleged violations of green laws at the project site.

Last month, the FAC passed the buck to the tribal affairs ministry to see if the project proponents violated any tribal rights.

A senior ministry official, who did not wish to be identified, told Business Standard that Ramesh had not asked the FAC to reconsider its earlier objections and give a green signal to the project.

The minister has not received the FAC report so far.

An FAC member said the committee is a statutory body and nobody can ask it to reconsider its suggestions.

"These recommendations go to the minister and reports saying the FAC has recommended withdrawal of forest clearance are not true," the member said.

Three weeks earlier, three of the four members of the committee, set up by the ministry of environment and forests and headed by former environment secretary Meena Gupta, had suggested scrapping the environmental clearances while only Gupta suggested a go-ahead.

committee also comprising Urmila Pingle, Devendra Pandey and V Suresh, couldn't reach a consensus.

It was set up to investigate the proposal by Posco India for the establishment of an integrated steel plant and captive port in Jagatsinghpur district of Orissa.

The main bone of contention was the issue of environment and Coastal Regulation Zone clearances, which the other members wanted to be cancelled.

BS Reporter in New Delhi