Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
Orissa Legislative Assembly started its Monsoon session with the Leader of Opposition, Mr. Janaki Ballav Pattanayak demanding that the terms and conditions laid down in the MOU signed with POSCO of South Korea be terminated as otherwise that would cause more loss than profit to the State. He also demanded that mining policy of the state be formulated afresh to ensure that the natural resources are not plundered away in the manner as at present under a corrupt government.
Raising a Point of Order during the Zero hour, Pattanayak had stressed on the Opposition notice for a discussion on POSCO, consequent upon which the business of the House was rescheduled.
Initiating the discussion, the Opposition leader interpillated the Chief Minister for having kept his cabinet in dark about the POSCO deal. The Chief Minister has agreed to allow the foreign firm to take away 180 million MT of iron ore from Orissa purported to be in exchange of the same quantity of ore to be imported. This is a shady deal, he alleged. If this is allowed the state shall suffer a financial loss of not less than Rs.37000 crore on this score alone, he established.
The leader of Opposition pointed out that the Chief Minister has no respect for collective wisdom of the Council of Ministers. The recent letter-war between the CM and his coalition partner BJP has amply proved this. The State is being run not democratically, but autocratically. He challenged the CM to reveal where from iron ore shall come for 37 industries with which the State has executed MOUs involving 1627 million MT when the deposit has been reduced to 1044 MMT only. The POSCO deal shall denude Orissa of her ore deposits completely, he cautioned.
The most revealing instance of the state government dancing to the tune of POSCO was dragged into public gaze when the Opposition Leader convincingly established that the State shall suffer financial loss to the tune of at least Rs.40110 crore in revenue sector if this industry is put in the Special Economic Zone as proposed by the government. It is sad that all the industries involved in MOUs are not being placed on level ground. Therefore, suspicion surmounting; CM must show that he has no clandestine connection with POSCO, demanded the Leader of Opposition. Never allow foreigners to mine away our natural resources. Make them purchase their required ore from the State at market rate, so that Orissa shall profit, he advised.
Debates on this issue will continue.