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Jual Oram sticks to his guns over Posco mining lease

Mail Today Bureau     June 10, 2014

The National Democratic Alliance-led Central government and Odisha could be on a collision course over the issue of leasing out Khandadhar iron ore mines to Posco.

While the state government, which is keen on pushing Posco's 12 million tonne steel project in Paradip, Jagatpur district, has recommended to the Centre that the mines- which are crucial to the project- be leased out to the South Korean steel giant, senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader and Union tribal affairs minister Jual Oram has opposed the move.

"The lease should not be granted in favour of the company.

I will take up the issue with the Union ministry of environment and forests,"Oram, who is on his maiden visit to the state after taking charge, told reporters here on Sunday. The tribal MP from Sundergarh, under whose constituency Khandadhar falls, has been one of the most vocal critics of Posco and organised resistance movements in the region in the past.

The Odisha government had recommended Posco during the United Progressive Alliance regime but the situation is likely to change with the change in government.

Leaders like Oram are likely to oppose the move vehemently.

"Big projects should not be allowed at the cost of largescale displacement of people and destruction of natural resources. I will urge the Centre not to push any project which is neither environmentfriendly nor favoured by the people", the minister said.

Oram's statement provoked immediate reaction from the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD).

Senior BJD leader and excise minister Damodar Rout said that while he feels happy that there are ministers from the state in the Union, he would expect them to protect Odisha's interests instead of that of their own party.

Courtesy: Mail Today 

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