Friday, July 1, 2011

Orissa bows to demands of pro-Posco agitators

After work for construction of the boundary walls and rehabilitation colonies for the Posco project was stalled for the last six days, the Orissa govt has accepted the demands of the agitators paving the way for resumption of work.The pro-Posco United Action Committee (UAC) has been opposing the work at Jagatsinghpur district in support of its six-point charter of demands.
"Talks between district officials and UAC members held at Gadakujanga were cordial. We discussed matters relating to resumption of work and it was a success," District Collector Narayan Chandra Jena said on Friday.
Jena said the district administration would fulfill all six demands, but it would take some time as the Revenue Divisional Commissioner (RDC), Central Division, was busy with the car festival at Puri.
"The RDC is now busy in organising the car festival of Lord Jagannath at Puri. Necessary action will be taken after he is free," Jena said.
"It was agreed to accept their demands. I assured them that the administration is prepared to give in writing after RDC level talks," Jena said voicing confidence that the villagers backing the mega steel project would continue their support.UAC leader Tamil Pradhan said villagers had certain reservations on construction of boundary walls and the rehabilitation colony near the Noliasahi-Polang area.The UAC, however, agreed to allow felling of trees, clearing of forest areas, measurement of betel vine plantations and civil work in the area, where the government has already acquired 1800 acre.
Asked whether the people wanted a written assurance on fulfilment of their demands, Jena replied, "as such they did not insist on a written assurance or any time-frame for fulfilment of their demands."
With the talks positive, work at the proposed site for the Rs 52,000 crore Posco steel project is likely to be resumed on Saturday, sources said.The Dhinkia area, however, still remained out of bounds for officials and police with anti-project agitators of the Posco Pratirosh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) continuing dharna near Gobindpur.
Protestors of the Bhitamati Suraksha Manch, backed by Congress, also staged a dharna at Nuagaon in protest against the steel project.

India-Malaysia FTA

The free trade agreement between India and Malaysia will come into force from Friday, giving Indian professionals like accountants, engineers and doctors access to the key South-East Asian nation.

In addition, exports of items of considerable interest to India, like basmati rice, mangoes, eggs, trucks, motorcycles and cotton garments, will attract lower or no duty in Malaysia with the implementation of the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA), according to a statement of the Commerce Ministry issued in New Delhi on Thursday.
It said sensitive sectors like agriculture, fisheries, textiles, chemicals and automobiles have been given protection from imports without duty or with significant cuts.
The CCEA will facilitate temporary movement of business people, including contractual service suppliers and independent professionals in accounting, architecture, engineering services, medical and dental, nursing and pharmacy, computer services and management consulting.
The agreement will also help boost cross-border investment between the two countries, which achieved bilateral trade of USD 10 billion in the 2010-11 fiscal.With the help of the opening of trade in goods and services, bilateral trade between India and Malaysia is expected to reach USD 15 billion by 2015, it said."The CECA creates an attractive operating environment for the business communities of both countries," the statement said.
An agreement for freeing trade in goods has already been implemented with the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).The pact with Malaysia will lead to tariff liberalisation beyond the India-ASEAN FTA commitments, which were implemented by both countries on 1st January 2010.India has also freed trade with South Korea, while a similar agreement with Japan will come into effect from August.

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