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Tatas to do social audit of Orissa project

April 13, 2010 10:22 IST

SteelTata Steel is to form a committee to undertake a social audit of its Kalinganagar project in Orissa, in a bid to counter allegations on the negative impact of industrialisation.

Said H M Nerurkar, managing director of Tata Steel: "We will form a committee comprising eminent persons to undertake a social audit. I am willing to do this audit for the next five years. Financial impact of the project on the livelihood of the people and medical help will be monitored."

He was responding to queries from the media on allegations of human rights' exploitation in the project. Tata Steel does a voluntary social audit for the Jamshedpur operations every 10 years.

Tata Steel signed a memorandum of understanding with the Orissa government for the Kalinganagar project in November 2004. More than five years on, 300 families are yet to be moved from the site.

The project saw violent agitation against land acquisition in 2006, when police firing killed 14 tribals.

Human rights activists have blamed industrial projects for displacing tribals, a cause taken up by Naxalites on a war-footing, literally.

According to a recent Citigroup report, tribals are among the biggest victims of displacement. Although they comprise nine per cent of the population, their land is 40 per cent of the land acquired till date.

Nerurkar admitted Naxalite movements had local support. "There is a dissatisfied lot," he said.

"Tata Steel wants to adjust to this issue by working with the communities. We have been doing this for 100 years and will continue to do it."

BS Reporter in Kolkata