PSPD in English Int. Solidarity 2011-01-28   5151

Open letter to Minister Shri. Jairam Ramesh on the POSCO project

To: Dear. Minister Shri. Jairam Ramesh,
     The Ministry of Environment and Forests
From: Korean civil society alliance

Greetings and Peace from the Republic of Korea.

Most of all, Korean civil society has had an interest constantly on the Pohang Steel Company (POSCO)’s project launched in Orissa. We, Nongovernmental Organizations(NGOs) of the Republic of Korea, had visited the State of Orissa, India, and completed to conduct the field research in the year of 2008 and 2010, and also had sent the open letter to the Meena Gupta Committee in September 2010. We are fully understanding of the
POSCO’s project that was given the procedure of decision making on interruption of land purchase by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, India, on 5 August 2010, and waiting with a close attention on the Minister’s final decision that are known as scheduled in the end of this January.

We, Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) of the Republic of Korea, would like to express our special respect on your sincere efforts to protect environment and human rights of natives in the project region to the Ministry of Environment and Forests. The Forest Rights Act had been suggested as the right direction to the global community suffering from making a decision between development and villagers’ right to livelihood,
and the decision on Vedanta was very courageous. All the companies that are trying to invest in India including Korean corporations should respect and follow the message suggested by the Ministry of Environment, India. It is the trustworthy way that makes the sustainable development possible for all the human beings.

We, Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) of the Republic of Korea, confirmed that the POSCO project is clearly violated by the Forest Rights Act through the two field research as the Saxena Committee Report and the Meena Gupta Committee Majority Report has been pointed out. The development project proceeding without the legally appropriate procedure must be paid huge cost as an inevitable consequence. Regardless of
violation on the Forest Right Act, POSCO and the Orissa government has been persuading the villagers who are strongly against the POSCO project for the last five years until now, however it has been failed. The villagers keep objecting to accept the compensation that POSCO has suggested to them and denying to move their residences.

If you, Minister Shri. Jairam Ramesh, approve the POSCO project even though the existing reports pointed the argumentative points of this POSCO project, your decision would not be supported. Most of all, it must make the villagers who has been suffered from the POSCO project for the last five years very disappointed. Korean civil societies also never want for you to proceed the project without any support. Executing of the project which is lack of legitimacy will face the stronger resistance to the POSCO project,
and it will bear the serious human rights abuse related to the project, finally it will seriously hurt both POSCO and Korean civil society.

During such a long time, the experts of the Ministry of Environment and Forests have conducted the research over the POSCO project at the same time gone through the careful analysis procedure. As being well aware of the existing problems of the POSCO project, the Forest Advisory Committee and the Infrastructure and Coastal Zone Sub-committee of the Expert Appraisal Committee also have pointed out those problems.
Korean civil society sincerely hope to end the conflict on the POSCO project and to consider the problems on development, environment, and the human rights abuse of the villagers and to find the alternatives to both the Korean and Indian society which will be definitely affected by the decision of the Ministry of Environment, India. Also, POSCO will have the opportunity to be mature in terms of operating the legitimate project through “the right decision” of the Ministry of Environment and Forests, India.

Here, “the right decision” means that everyone agrees and respect at the same time, it is the decision should be based on the truth.

We, Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) of the Republic of Korea, believe that you, Minister Shri. Jairam Ramesh, will make the right and rational decision based on the truth and common sense.

28 January 2011

Signed by Korean civil society Alliance, below:
Amnesty International Korea
Catholic Human Rights Committee
Citizen’s Movement for Environmental Justice
Corporate for All
Dasan human rights centre
Korean House for International Solidarity
MINBYUN-Lawyers for a Democratic Society
Network for Glocal Activism
People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy
Sarangbang Group for Human Rights


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