POSCO Affected People

“We, the people from India and different parts of the world concerned with the protection of human and environmental rights, have learned that 2006 onwards POSCO TJ Park Prize has been awarding an individual or organization its Community Development & Philanthropy Prize. This gives us reason to believe that as an organization, POSCO is concerned about community development and has respect for human rights and social justice initiatives. 

We therefore find it ironic that POSCO is simultaneously perpetrating severe human rights violations and threatening people’s livelihoods Specifically,in Jagatsinghpur,Orissa, the livelihoods of more than 20,000 people are at risk due to POSCO’s USD 12 billion plan to build a 12 Million Tonne Per Annum (MTPA) integrated steel plant, captive port and mines. This plant will require 4004 acres of land, in addition to land for a railway, road expansion and mine development [1]. The land earmarked for this purpose has been used for generations by Dalits (low caste, known as ‘Úntouchables’), agriculturalists, workers and small businesses. These people will lose their homes and livelihoods as result of this project”.
Thus begins the open letter from “National Centre for Advocacy Studies and Posco Prathirodh Sangram Samiti forwarded by the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) to POSCO – Korea“. The concerns raised in the letter still have not received the careful attention that they deserve from government and project authorities. They include:
  1. Livelihoods : Scarcity of water for drinking and irrigation in four districts in view of permission to POSCO to lift 150 billion litres of water from Mahanadi Barrage at Jobra and Naraj for construction and operation of  overall project.
  2. Environmental Impact : Khandadhar hills where POSCO is being allotted the mines, spread over 6000 hectares, are covered with forests, inhabited by a wide variety of wildlife and as well as flora. The adivasi (Indigenous people) communities, which form 74% of the population in the surrounding area will be severely impacted by the proposed mining.
  3. Human rights violations : In October 2008, the leader of anti POSCO movement, Mr.Abhaya Sahoo was arrested and 32 “false cases” were charged against him. To date, the movement has been democratic and non-violent, however, a recently released video reflects that Mr. Abhaya is being kept against his will by the government.
On 21 August 2009 he has been released on bail.
A study was conducted by Manshi Asher in conjunction with  NCAS on the implications of the project titled ‘Striking while the Iron is Hot‘.
Images from the affected area (given in the above report).
O O O O O O O O O O O O O 

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