About 2,000 Indian farmers could lose their livelihoods in the next month if a proposed US$12 billion steel plant operation involving South Korean steel giant POSCO goes ahead, Amnesty International warned today.
The Indian authorities have given POSCO conditional clearance to establish a steel plant and port operation on about 4,000 hectares of land in the coastal Jagatsinghpur district of the eastern state of Orissa.
The area includes land on which local farmers are dependent for their livelihoods, and to which they may have rights under Indian law.
The farmers’ claims to the land have not been properly settled, despite the fact that official investigations have raised serious concerns about the failures of Orissa State to protect land rights in the context of the steel project.
State police could take over the land during March if the authorities fail to recognize the farmers’ right to use it.