A four-member expert team of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) visited the proposed Posco steel plant site near Paradip on Tuesday to study its impact on the coastal environment.
The visit of the committee, headed by K Ray Paul, is significant as the National Green Tribunal (NGT) had suspended the environmental clearance for the project in March and sought a fresh assessment.
The team is expected to talk to officials of Environment and Forest department, Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB), district collector and officials of Posco. “The team has come on the directive of the NGT, so there is no proposal of a public hearing of the villagers. We will see condition of the land, local geography and type of land where the steel plant project is coming up,” Paul told mediapersons after visiting some villages like Nuagaon and Noliasahi.
The other three members of the team include Dr R Ramesh, R D Singh and Dr S R Wate. This is the first visit of the team to the site after NGT suspended the green clearance. The State Government had stopped land acquisition after the NGT decision. Official sources said 2,000 acres of the required 4,004 acres had already been acquired.
The MoEF in January 2011 had accorded conditional environmental clearance to the project after which the State Government, along with the South Korean steel major, started land acquisition for the project.
Sources said the new Minister of State for Steel and Mines Rajanikant Singh would review the progress of the project on August 25.
The expert team, however, did not visit the controversial Dhinkia and Gobindpur areas which comprises the remaining 2,000 acres of the proposed mega steel plant project. The team would also assess the environmental impact for proposed captive port of Posco at Jatadhari river mouth.