MAC: Mines and Communities

An Iron Grip Descends On India

Published by MAC on 2005-08-29

An iron grip descends on India

29th August 2005

Potentially the biggest ever FDI (foreign direct investment) in India's natural resources is pre-figured with a deal that has been rushed through its permitting process with obscene haste.

Benefitting from unrivalled domestic supplies of iron ore, and capacity to forge steel, is one of the world's top three steel conglomerates, South Korea's POSCO. It's been offered concessions which aren't even enjoyed by domestic companies.

On the receiving end are thousands of tribal people who will be forcibly removed from their land.

Central to the murky politicking surrounding the project are the discredited Orissa state government - whose honeymoon with another foreign minerals exploiter, Vedanta plc., may soon come to an end - and an NGO based in the US called International Watch.

This dubious outfit has promised five millions dollars to a "tribal rehabilitation fund" (sic) to resettle the Indigenous oustees. Claiming "deep roots in the US and India" International Watch doesn't disguise its support for the "war on terrorism" engineered by George Bush, who regards South Korea as a firm ally (see "From the Horse's mouth" below).

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