Three of the four members of the Meena Gupta Committee, set up to review South Korean steelmaker Posco's proposal for Rs54,000-crore plant and port in Orissa, on Tuesday strongly reiterated their opposition to the project, saying all clearances for the project should be scrapped.
Gupta, the chair, was the only committee member who had argued in favour of the project. The other three members of the review panel - former director of the Forest Survey of India Devendra Pandey, civil rights activist and advocate V Suresh, and tribal affairs expert Urmila Pingle - have written to union environment minister Jairam Ramesh to say that Gupta's dissent report is ''not in accordance with law on a number of points.''
Gupta, a former environment secretary, had argued that the dissent of the majority was based on minor points. Ramesh on Monday seemed to agree, saying that there was not much difference between the majority report and the dissent note except in interpretation. (See: Green panel on Posco waffles over verdict)
The other three members were clearly unhappy about what they called an attempt to diminish the differences they had with Gupta. "We first wish to clearly state that the interpretation being made in some quarters that our report and Ms Gupta's report are largely the same is simply incorrect," they wrote.
The three members stressed that the two reports differ in approach, conclusions and substance. They said that Gupta's recommendation of further environmental impact assessments without revoking the clearance as ''untenable.'' They argued that as per the law, an impact assessment ''is not a private exchange between ministry and company but a basis for scrutiny by all authorities and the public''.
The absence of a proper impact assessment report prior to the public hearing has been cited by the majority as suppression of facts and grounds for cancellation of clearance.