The Union Ministry of Environment & Forest’s conditional clearance for the controversial POSCO project has brought the hapless minister Mr. Jairam Ramesh into an eye of storm. He is being severely criticized from various quarters, including environment activists. And, apart from being criticized, he is also being accused of being a hypocrite. The reason? Well, critics are saying that the initial sternness shown by Mr. Ramesh over this issue was just an eye-wash, and the ultimate softness shown to the said project was pre-planned.
However, personally I feel that if the POSCO project has really brought into the “limelight” the hypocrisy of a person, then that person is nobody else but Ms. Mamata Banerjee.
Just recall the way this “fire brand” leader and aspiring West Bengal Chief Minister spoiled the proposed “Nano” project in West Bengal, a project that could have brought such a significant boost for the ailing economy of the state by creating a plethora of jobs. And what were Ms. Banerjee’s complaints against the project? Well, she had mainly two complaints. No. 1 – the project was about to use fertile agricultural land. No. 2 – it was going to displace local people from their ancestral lands.
Now let us have a look at the POSCO project. It is going to use (read exploit) around 75% of forest land. And it is going to displace (read uproot) a huge number of indigenous people from their ancestral lands.
So how can you now accept your government’s approval for POSCO project, Ms. Banerjee, when you opposed the “Nano” project for virtually similar reasons? Why do not you now go to the proposed site of POSCO project, and mobilize the local tribal people in the way you mobilized villagers at Singur against the proposed Nano project? And if you cannot do that, then at least you should resign from your ministerial position and pull your party out of the UPA coalition.
Come up with any of these two actions, and prove that you are not a hypocrite. It is an open challenge to you.