“ORISSA JANA ADHIKAR MORCHA (OJAM)” CONDEMNS THE ILLEGAL ACTION OF THE ORISSA GOVT. TO RENEW THE MOU WITH POSCO
25 June, 2010
ORISSA JANA ADHIKAR MORCHA (OJAM) a leading mass organization opposed to the renewal of the POSCO project describing it as anti people and against the provision of the Forest Rights Act. POSCO is in need of 4004 acres of land for its project near Paradip out of which 2,900 acres is forest land , but failed to acquire even a single acre after five years of signing the MoU mainly due to protests by the local people under the leadership of Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS). Villagers have been protesting against the project as it will displace them from their homeland and ruin their betel leaf farms.
Not only the above POSCO will lift water from the Mahanadi barrage and it would adversely affect the farmers and the peoples of Cuttack city. OJAM will also oppose handing over of Kandadhar mines to POSCO as it will affect the bio-diversity and displace the peoples.
The Orissa government has openly violated the provisions of the Forest Rights Act. Section 4(5) of the FRA mandates that “no member of a forest dwelling Scheduled Tribe or other traditional forest dweller shall be evicted or removed from forest land under his occupation till the recognition (of rights) and verification procedure is complete”, and section 5 of the Act empowers Gram Sabhas to protect the forests and to “regulate access to community forest resources.” Though initially the MoEF issued a circular in August 2009 to the effect that diversion of forest land for the POSCO project would have to wait until after the rights of the forest dwellers had been recognized and would still require approval by the relevant Gram Sabhas and the Palli Savas of several GPs like Nuagaon, Dhinkia and Govindpur also passed resolutions claiming their rights under the FRA and rejecting the diversion of forest land – their primary source of livelihood – for the POSCO project, still the Orissa Govt. with disregards to the law is again trying to renew the MOU with POSCO thereby showing undue favour to a multinational company and the reason is best known to the govt. Hence OJAM condemns the illegal action of the state govt. and unless the govt. is restraining itself from this type of illegal activity OJAM will launch state wide agitation against the state govt.