Forest ministry probing alleged flouting of laws by Vedanta, Posco

The ministry of environment and forests is investigating alleged violation of forest laws by UK-based Vedanta group and Korean steel major Posco in Orissa, minister for environment and forests Jairam Ramesh said while replying to questions in the Rajya Sabha today.

He said a four-member expert group set up by the ministry is currently looking into all alleged violations of environment and forest laws by Vedanta and Posco in Orissa.

Vedanta's mining project in Orissa comprises both forest and non-forest land and, as per rules, the company can start mining operations only after it receives permission for mining in the forest area. The panel is investigated any violation of this guideline, he said.

"We will take a final call after report of the expert group is received," the minister said
The ministry is also investigating alleged violation of forest act in Posco's acquisition of land for its mega project, the minister stated.

Meanwhile, in Karnataka, S B Minerals, Trident Minerals and Veeyam Minerals continued to operate "in complete violation of the forest advisory committee resolution of 10 May 2010,' he said.

The Karnataka chief minister has "promised to take action against illegal mining," the minister said.