Posco-India claims no tribal population in its project area

"As far as we know, there is no tribal population in Kujang tehsil area where the South Korean steel major is going to set up its Rs 51,000 crore project," the company's general manager (external service) Simanta Mohanty said. Among other conditions, the MoEF had told the steel major to set the rights of tribal people as per the provisions of the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers Act, 2006.

"Since there is no tribal population and forest dwellers in the area, the company would like to await further advice from the ministry," he said adding though about 2,900 acre of the 4,004 acre land required for the project was identified as forest land, there was no such visible forest in the area. The area, located in the Bay of Bengal coast, was once full of mangrove forests and therefore identified as forest area, a local revenue official said, adding that as mangrove plantation no more exists the locality remained as a forest area on papers only.

Stating that the Korean company had already deposited Rs 105 crore for undertaking social forestry activities, Mohanty said that Posco-India was committed to create a green belt in the project area by planting about two million trees. The steel major, however, admitted that there was a sizeable population of fishing community in its project area including in the proposed port area at Jatadhari mouth.

"The company will abide by the MoEF guideline for settlement of fishermen", Mohanty said. Asked about the company's plan to go for construction activities, the official said it was awaiting the state government's approval for the same. 

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