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Posco steel plant in Odisha, India

A ten years struggle defending the land against a steel plant project by South Korean POSCO company pays off. On 8/4/2016 the company announced the end of the project for its long environmental litigation in the NGT and for the people's opposition.


Orissa (or Odisha) is an Indian State overlooking the Bay of Bengal, made up of rural and mountainous hinterland with few urban centers and home to around 7 million indigenous Adivasi people. Population density is high.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Posco steel plant in Odisha, India
State or province:Odisha
Location of conflict:Jagathsinghpur district (Dhinkia village, Paradip port)
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Industrial and Utilities conflicts
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Land acquisition conflicts
Mineral processing
Building materials extraction (quarries, sand, gravel)
Specific commodities:Steel
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The plant envisaged 12 million tons of steel upon reaching full capacity. The company would also construct a new port at Jatadhari. The budget was Rs 50,000 crore.

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Project area:1600
Level of Investment for the conflictive project12 000 000 000
Type of populationSemi-urban
Start of the conflict:2004
Company names or state enterprises:Pohang Iron and Steel Company (POSCO) from Republic of Korea
Relevant government actors:Orissa Government, Green National Tribunal
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Citizens for Environmental Protection., PPSS (Pratirodha Sangram Samiti), led by Abhay Sahu, Indian Supreme Court, One Communist Party of India., Activists from all over India.
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Social movements
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Boycotts of official procedures/non-participation in official processes
Development of alternative proposals
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Potential: Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Waste overflow, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Health ImpactsPotential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Malnutrition, Deaths
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Displacement, Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights
Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Deaths, Assassinations, Murders
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Violent targeting of activists
Project cancelled
Withdrawal of company/investment
Proposal and development of alternatives:The mobilizers do not want the construction of the steel plant, and want to cultivate the land instead.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain:The 12 milion tons steel plant is not built yet, but there are advanced plans for its construction, perhas at on 8 M tons in the first phase. In 2011, the project was halted by the so-called Green Tribunal of the Supreme Court but the government of the state of Odisha (Orissa) is buying land and making it available to Posco. Still the population keeps on cultivating the so-called government land.
Meanwhile, another steel plant belonging to Posco has been built near Bombay.
UPDATE 8th April 2016: Posco announced the scrap of the project. Despite impacts are already created (like illegal logging of trees), the company decided to withdraw due to difficulty in obtaining subsequent env clearances and for people's opposition.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

Forest Rights Act (enacted 2008), it has been used against the initial MoU (memorandum of understanding) between Government of Orissa and POSCO

Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act

1894 Land Acquisition Act and its revised version from 2013

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Globalisation in the fifth schedule areas-alienation of land and resources from people. Hyderabad, Samanta. 2001.

Globalisation, Imdias Adjustament Experience. Dasgupta, Biplab. Ed. SAGE PUBLICATIONS. 2005.

India Together - "A battle that hasn’t been won in nine years" by Kanchi Kholi
[click to view]

Anti-Posco activists observe Black Day, 09/07/2015
[click to view]

(1) Business Standard, 9th April 2016 - Project in Odisha is over, says Posco
[click to view]

Green bench rejects Posco’s Orissa project, J., P., Koshy & R., Singh, 31/03/2012
[click to view]

‘Whatever they do, project dead, we keep our land’, D., Mohanty, 09/03/2015
[click to view]

Prameya News, 8th April 2016 - There will be no Posco project in Odisha!
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Action 2007- NO POSCO Part 1 - A Film on people's resistance against POSCO in Orissa (A Film By Girish&Rajkumar)
[click to view]

Action 2007- NO POSCO Part 2 A - Film on people's resistance against POSCO in Orissa (A Film By Girish&Rajkumar)
[click to view]

Other comments:Local opposition leaders have been arrested, for instance Narayan Reddy (a former legislator). The opposition spread over an area of eight villages.
Meta information
Contributor:Lucie Greyl, D. Del Bene, JMA
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:473
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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