The Orissa government is likely to submit its views to the Union Ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) on the recommendations of two separate reports of the Meena Gupta panel on the steel project proposed to be set up by Posco India near Paradip after the meeting of the Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) scheduled for October 25.
"The MoEF has sought the views of the state government on two separate reports of the Meena Gupta panel. We will submit our comments to the ministry only after the meeting of the FAC on October 25”, said an official source.
The panel, comprising Urmila Pingle, Devendra Pandey, V Suresh and headed by former environment secretary Meena Gupta had submitted two separate reports on the Posco project.
Three of the four members of the committee, set up by the MoEF to investigate the matter, suggested scrapping environmental clearances given to the project while Gupta had suggested granting the project a go-ahead.
However, the Gupta panel, set up on July 28 this year, unanimously agreed that provisions under the Forest Rights Act need to be revisited by the Orissa government.
They also agreed on the need to complete the process of seeking consent from forest dwellers under FRA.
The main difference was on the issue of environmental and coastal regulation zone clearances. While conceding that she came across "several matters that cause concern", Gupta did not suggest for rejecting the clearances given earlier.
Instead, she called for a comprehensive and integrated environmental impact assessment (EIA) of the steel plant and port, as well as imposition of additional conditions on the project. A comprehensive EIA was supposed to have been undertaken earlier, but was substituted with a rapid EIA.
The other members, however, sought total revocation of all clearances.
Their report said the final forest clearance by the ministry overlooked serious violations of its own directions and procedures prescribed by law.
The ministry ought not to have granted environmental clearances on the basis of the rapid EIA and these should be immediately revoked, they said.