Even as the Orissa government acquired 2,700 acres of land for phase I of Poscos proposed steel plant near Paradip on July 4,the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR) has raised a few questions.
In a letter,routed through the Ministry of Home Affairs,to the Orissa chief secretary last week,it has asked India if a human rights impact assessment was carried out on the potential effects of the project on the local people.
There have been several violent incidents over the last eight years. In February,a land acquisition officer with the state-run Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation of Orissa was beaten up by villagers.
The UNHCR,through its Geneva-based special rapporteurs,has asked if any investigations were conducted about the alleged use of force against project opponents. It has also sought to know the steps taken to identify viable alternatives to the forced eviction of about 20,000 affected people.
The UNHCR Permanent Mission in New Delhi has stressed that India provide the inputs on Posco project at the earliest as the allegations may be taken up in the next Universal Periodic Review. Such allegations also have the potential to be used by NGOs to malign Indias image both within and outside the country, the letter said. The Orissa chief secretary has asked all the departments to submit their replies.