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Public Statement on Proposed JSW Utkal Steel Limited Project in Jagatsinghpur, Odisha

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Public Statement on Proposed JSW Utkal Steel Limited Project in Jagatsinghpur, Odisha

17.12.2019

The Human Rights and Business Network-India (HRBN-I) is concerned about the objections raised by community groups on the public hearings of JSW Port and Steel Plant in Jagatsinghpur district, Odisha, which is scheduled on 20 December 2019. We strongly urge the Government of Odisha and JSW Limited to follow due processes in accordance with the law and legal provisions for environmental impact assessments (EIA) and in line with national and international human rights frameworks.

A public hearing was earlier scheduled on 22 November 2019 at Badadanda in Jagatsinghpur district, Odisha, for the proposed project by JSW Utkal Steel Limited. The project includes: Integrated steel plant of 13.2 metric tonne per annum (MTPA) crude steel with 10 MTPA cement grinding unit and 900 Mega Watt (MW) captive power plant; and, all-weather, multi-cargo, greenfield, captive jetties for 52 MTPA handling capacity at Jatadhari Muhan river. The initial public hearing was postponed and is now scheduled on 20 December 2019.

• According to Form-1 submitted for the project development, the document acknowledges the interlinkages between its different components (Sec.1.17 and 1.18, and Sec.2.1.7).

• Furthermore, as per the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) Office Memorandum [No. J-11013/41/2006-IA.II (I)], “Integrated and inter-linked projects having multi sectoral components shall prepare a common EIA report, covering impact of each of the component comprehensive manner after obtaining TORs from each of the respective sectoral Expert Appraisal Committees (EACs).”

• Moreover, the MoEFCC Office Memorandum states: “The proponent shall prepare a common EIA report covering all the sectors comprehensively and hold public hearing based on the EIA report so prepared, for each component as per provision of EIA Notification, 2006”.

Local community groups have raised objection to JSW Utkal Steel Limited not undertaking a common EIA for the proposed project, as per publicly available documents. In the absence of a common EIA report, affected people and concerned citizens would not have the opportunity to review the cumulative and comprehensive impacts of all components of the integrated/interlinked project.

JSW Limited, that is the parent company of JSW Utkal Steel, in its human rights policy has “committed to respecting the economic, social, cultural, political and civil rights of individuals involved in and impacted by JSW’s operations. JSW holds itself to the highest standards of human rights and is committed to supporting and respecting internationally proclaimed human rights principles, in particular the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Core Conventions of the International Labour Organisation.”

HRBN-I demands that the project, which has been presented as two separate components in fact comprises four integrated and inter-linked components, be placed before three separate thematic EACs: Industry, Thermal Power and Infrastructure. The company must apply the principle of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) in line with Universal Declaration of Human Rights and UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

HRBN-I is a coalition of academics, civil society activists, journalists, and indigenous groups created to defend the human rights of precarious communities in India.

Endorsements (updated on 17.12.2019): To endorse this, click here.

1. Oxfam India

2. Business and Community Foundation

3. National Centre for Advocacy Studies

4. Business and Human Rights Resource Centre

5. Environics Trust