Criticised for allegedly ignoring resolutions of gram panchayats in two villages under Posco’s proposed plant site area,Orissa government has asked the district administration of Jagatsinghpur to submit a report on the controversy.
While the state government had earlier declared the Palli Sabha convened by gram panchayats of Dhinkia and Gobindpur on February 21 and 23 respectively as misleading,the Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) alleged that the administration violated rules under the Forest Rights Act,2006 by ignoring resolutions of the village body meetings.
The state government’s action in this regard,however,came in response to a letter from Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh who drew attention of the chief minister Naveen Patnaik regarding the ignoring of Palli Sabha resolutions of two gram panchayats of Dhinkia and Gobindpur.
“You are requested to furnish a factual report on the alleged act of ignoring Palli Sabha resolutions of Dhinkia and Gobindpur,” S K Chadha,director-cum-additional secretary of ST and SC Development Department told the Jagatsinghpur District Collector through a letter despatched on Thursday.
Ramesh in his letter to the chief minister on April 14,had mentioned that he received a representation from PPSS which talked about Palli Sabha resolutions not been considered by the state government.
“I do believe that these two resolutions have to be disposed off by the appropriate authority in accordance with the FRA,especially keeping in mind the provision of section 4(5) of the act,” Ramesh said in his letter to Patnaik.
While the state government had recommended diversion of 1253.225 hectare of forest land for establishment of integrated steel plant and captive port by Posco,the two Palli Sabhas were opposed to such a move.
Earlier,in his report to the state government,the Jagatsinghpur district collector N C Jena had claimed that formal procedures were not followed before convening Palli Sabhas by the sarpanchs of the two gram panchayats of Dhinkia and Gobindpur.
“The so-called Palli Sabha resolutions relating to Gobindpur and Dhinkia villages are forged documents manufactured by Mohapatra (Sarpanch of Dhinkia panchayat) with the sole intention of stalling the process of diversion of forest land for Posco projects,” the collector said in his letter to the state government.
The collector also accused Mohapatra,the sarpanch of Dhinkia,of misusing his official position to mislead the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF).