Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh today granted conditional clearance for South Korean major Posco’s $ 12 billion steel mill project in Orissa.
The Ministry, while granting conditional green clearance for steel-cum-captive-power plant and a captive minor port, however, sought Orissa Government’s assurances before it can give final approval for diversion of 1253 hectares of forest land for the project, mooted as the single biggest foreign direct investment in India.
“The environmental clearance for captive port is being accorded with 32 additional conditions over and above stipulated in the original environmental clearance of May 15, 2007,” the order signed by the Minister said.
Mr. Ramesh also asked Orissa government to give a categorical assurance that those claiming to be dependent on or cultivating the land in the Posco project area do not belong to the other traditional forest dwellers (OTFD) category under the Forest Rights Act, 2006.
This, according to him, would make it clear that there are no legally tenable claims of non-tribals wanting recognition as OTFDs under the FRA.
“Final approval of diversion of 1253 hectares of forest land for the Posco project would be granted as soon as this assurance of the State government is received by the MoEF,” the Minister said.