Tata Steel undertakes social audit of Kalinganagar project

Tata Steel will form a committee to undertake a social audit of its Kalinganagar project in Orissa, to address issues related to negative social impact of industrialisaion.

H M Nerurkar, managing director of Tata Steel said, "We will form a committee comprising eminent persons to undertake a social audit. I am willing to do this audit for the next five years. Financial impact of the project on the livelihood of the people and medical help will be monitored."

Nerurkar's announcement came in the context of media queries on allegations of human rights' exploitation in the project. Tata Steel conducts a voluntary social audit of its Jamshedpur operations every 10 years.

The company signed an MoU with the Orissa government under which for the Kalinganagar project in November 2004, but more than five years on, 300 families have not been moved from the site.

The land acquisition process for the project in 2006 sparked a violent agitation by tribals and the police firing that followed left 14 agitators dead.

Human rights activists have blamed industrial projects for displacement of tribals, and their cause that has eagerly taken up by Naxalities, literally on a war footing.

According to a recent Citigroup report, tribals stand most to lose given that they comprise 9 per cent of the population and their land makes up around 40 per cent of the land acquired till date.

Accepting that Naxalite movements enjoyed good local support, he said there was a dissatisfied lot that was involved in agitations against projects.

He added that Tata Steel would address the issue by working with the communities. He added that the group had been doing that for 100 years and would continue with the practice.