Panel divided over Posco clearance

While three non-governmental members of the panel were in favour of cancelling the environmental clearances and coastal regulatory zone approvals, Meena Gupta, chairperson of the panel and former environment secretary wanted the green approvals to stay for the time being. Gupta was union environment secretary when Posco received the approvals.

After three months of probing alleged instances of violations of various green laws, the members on Monday submitted two different reports - one authored by Gupta and the second one by other three members (Devendra Pandey, V Suresh and Urmila Pingle)- to the union environment minister Jairam Ramesh.

Both reports, however, are unanimous in recommending a fresh “comprehensive and integrated” environment impact assessment report for the 12 million tonne plant and the nearby port and suggested a review of the approvals based on the fresh EIA.  Both the reports recommended that the Orissa government should have a fresh look at the traditional forest dwellers issue.

Ramesh refused to speculate on the future course of action. “The forest advisory committee will meet on October 25 to discuss both the reports. The EIA and CRZ divisions of the ministry will also study the reports. I will also discuss these reports with the Orissa government before taking any decision.” he said.

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