Thursday, November 03, 2005

More on Orissa Sponge Iron Hearing

Statesman's Orissa Plus had an article on the Public Hearing of the Orissa Sponge Iron Ltd. proposed mine in the Malangtoli area of Keonjhar district. Here it is

"Villagers suspect foulplay in Sponge Iron hearing
Statesman News Service

KEONJHAR, Nov. 2. — The people of villages of Luhakala and Kadakala, and many social organisations have remonstrated against the public hearing conducted by the Orissa Sponge Iron on the Malangtoli Iron Ore Mining Lease in their villages in the Bansapal block. Organisations like Kendujhara Suraksha Parishad, Anchalika Mahasangha, Shreekhand Bhaumya Samaj, Khandadhar Suraksha Samiti and Anchalika Swayam Sahayaka Sadhana Kendra have drawn the attention of the director, State Pollution Control Board, the secretary, Forest and Environment Department and the Collector to the irregularities noticed at the public hearing.

They alleged that the hearing was a farce and hundreds of people had not got a chance to put forth their views on the proposed expansion project of the plant as the hearing lasted barely three hours. Some of them have alleged that organisations working on environment and forest were forced to wait outside the hall while handpicked people who were supportive of the expansion plan were allowed to take part in the public hearing.

The local people have alleged in their letter to the concerned pollution control authorities that the expansion plan will adversely affect the Khandadhara waterfall that attracts a lot of tourists.
Quoting from reports which were said to have been prepared by consultants, the villagers have alleged that the employment potential is minimal and it will all be unskilled labour-based employment.

They wanted to know whether no-objection certificate had been obtained prior to the public hearing as the company had already commenced its work. When contacted, the managing director of OSIL Mr NK Patnaik insisted that the company had obtained a no-objection certificate since the day it had placed orders for its machinery. He, however, declined to be drawn into any controversial question on the need for environment clearance.

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