The government on Friday said the clearance given to POSCO under the Forest Conservation Act, 1980, to set up an integrated steel plant and captive port in Orissa, was subject to approval under the Environmental Protection Act, 1986 and all other Acts, rules and regulations applicable to such projects.

In a statement on Friday, the Ministry of Environment and Forests said the project could go ahead only after the consent of the tribal people as required under the provisions of the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006.

The Ministry has sent a letter to the Orissa government with this clarification. The State government had on December 29, 2009 claimed that the two projects were cleared by the Environment and Forests Ministry.

The list of 15 conditions, which the company needs to fulfil, includes that the legal status of the forest land shall remain unchanged, wherever possible and technically feasible, the user agency – M/S POSCO India Pvt Ltd will undertake afforestation, the forest land will not be used for any other purpose that specified in the proposal and no damage would be caused to the flora and fauna of the region.

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