Jairam Ramesh slams Naveen Patnaik for Posco delay and backing Niyamgiri mining

Aug 17 2013, 21:04 IST
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BJD, on the other hand, had favoured mining while relegating the cause of poor tribals. Reuters BJD, on the other hand, had favoured mining while relegating the cause of poor tribals. Reuters
SummaryBJD, on the other hand, had favoured mining while relegating the cause of poor tribals.

Mounting a scathing attack on Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for inept governance, senior Congress leader and Union Minister Jairam Ramesh on Saturday held BJD government responsible for inordinate delay in implementation of Posco steel project.

"As the proposed Posco steel plant near Paradip is billed as India's largest foreign direct investment (FDI) project, the centre laid due emphasis...and accorded green signal to it. However, Naveen government has made a mess of it," Ramesh said while addressing a Congress rally here.

Stating that Odisha government has failed to hand over land to the steelmaker till now, the Union Rural Development Minister said people who are losing out land and livelihood due to the project do have genuine grievances with regard to the rehabilitation and resettlement.

"I am told that the state government is insensitive to their cause. The government should take the people into confidence by redressing their grievances so that the mega steel venture gets under way shortly," Ramesh said.

Hitting out at Patnaik over many issues, the senior Congress leader accused the BJD government of being inefficient, inept in governance and misutilising funds provided by the UPA government.

Referring to the proposal for bauxite mining on Niyamgiri Hills for Vedanta, Ramesh said Congress party's stand on the issue is vindicated following the united stand by Dangaria Kandha tribes of Kalahandi and Rayagada districts against the mining plan.

Congress had earlier expressed solidarity with particularly vulnerable tribal group (PVTG) like Dangaria kandhas and opposed mining on Niyamgiri. Eleven of the 12 gram sabhas held so far in the area have rejected mining proposal on their 'sacred' hillock.

BJD, on the other hand, had favoured mining while relegating the cause of poor tribals. The regional party led by Patnaik now "stands exposed of its anti-tribal policy", Ramesh said.

Ramesh, who spoke a few sentences in Odia, took a dig at Naveen Patnaik saying it was the eighth wonder as the Chief Minister has been ruling Odisha for last 14 years without learning the state's language.

He said Congress should take advantage of this weakness of BJD.

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