By Anil Kar
Though the Govt of Orissa is quite prompt in signing number of MoUs with the different MNCs and Corporate Set Ups for execution of different mega projects in the state, somehow due to the cumbersome procedure of the Govt in acquiring the lands as well as many issues arising out of the working in the forest and non-forest land have stalled the progress of many big ticket projects like POSCO, Vedanta and Essar. Even the companies which have started their work Project works in their sites after acquiring the lands through due legal procedure, their work has been stopped unnecessarily by the controversy of working in forest as well as non-forest lands. But the scenario is something different in the industrially advanced state Gujrat. The pro-industry attitude of the Gujrat State Govt has been further given a leap forward by the National Green Tribunal through itís verdict on 10th January 2012. Recently the National Green Tribunal has allowed the M/s OPG Power Gujrat Pvt Ltd to proceed itís project work in their site area which was stopped due to the issue of said working in forest as well as non-forest area. As per the para 4.4 of the guideline on Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980, if a projectís (both Govt and non-govt) land area involves forest and non-forest area, the concerned party has to get the approval from the Central Govt even to work in the non-forest area also. But subsequently this has been modified vide the letter dated 21st March 2011, issued by the Assistant Inspection General of Forest to the Chief Secretaries of all the states, the restrictions imposed regarding working in forest and non-forest area is only confined only to the Govt projects. And referring to the same, The Green Tribunal in itís interim verdict has said that there is no harm in carrying out the construction activities by the concerned company.
Due to the similar problem many big tickets projects like Vedanta and Essarís work have been stopped by the local administration in Lanjigarh and Keonjhar area respectively. Not only Vedanta and Essar, but also several other projects work have been stopped due to the same and thereby putting the industrialization process in the state in cold storage. However the recent National Green Tribunalís verdict should act like a guideline for the projects in Orissa and the Govt should pro-actively act to allow the mega projects to start their work and materialize the dream of putting the state much above in the industrial map of the country.