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Dalits worst hit by POSCO project

Apr 14, 2011

Dalits as the local forest user community will be most affected by the proposed Posco Steel Project in Orissa, claimed The National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights forum. The plant will have severe effect on the coastal environment and will encroach on the constitutional rights of dalits, the forum asserts.

 

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The National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR), a forum working for elimination of discrimination based on caste, today claimed that dalits would be the most hit by the Posco Steel Project.

A fact-finding team of NCDHR which visited proposed project site at Dhinkia and Govindpur gram panchayats and met the local inhabitants and activists fighting the steel plant.

Addressing mediapersons here, Paul Dibakar of NCDHR said the mega steel plant project would have serious impact on the coastal environment of the State. Moreover, it will encroach on the constitutional rights of dalits and other communities. The forum urged the Orissa Government not to renew the MoU with the Korean steel giant.

The NCDHR members said that the local community is the traditional forest user. The area was full of forests during the British regime which is indicated in the 1932 Orissa Revenue Settlements and the State Government should accept this. Instead, it is trying to mislead by sticking to the point that the area was not notified as forest land prior to 1961. The State Government should accept the verdict of the locals as per the forest laws.

The forum will submit its report to the Ministry of Environment and Forests and lodge compliant with the Women and SC/ST Standing Committee of Parliament requesting it to visit the area.

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