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Illegal POSCO SEZ

The ongoing POSCO Steel project in Odisha is infamous for several illegalities: tree-felling, grabbing forest-dwellers’ land, incomplete assessment and deliberate concealment of facts, seizing natural resources without requisite MoU and environment clearance, beating, arresting and killing those resisting the project, and flagrantly violating fundamental rights to life and liberty of local citizens. Now the central and state governments have connived with POSCO, modifying rules to continually extend its in-principle approval as a special economic zone (SEZ) and violating the “no forcible land acquisition for SEZs” instruction.

In January 2013, in the 56th SEZ Board of Approval (BoA) meeting, POSCO SEZ was given the fifth in-principle approval extension in seven years! The 1,620.496 hectare POSCO-India Pvt Ltd multi-product SEZ was given its first in-principle approval in the fifth BoA meeting in September 2006. In December 2009, the 37th BoA meeting gave special de novo approvals to allow developers of 11 SEZs whose second in-principle approval term had lapsed, to complete their land acquisition, including POSCO SEZ. At the time, the rules of extension of in-principle approvals did not allow more than two extensions.

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