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Indian Betel Farmers Battle South Korean Steel Giant

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posted on Sep, 6 2011 @ 12:06 PM
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The stage is the district of Jagatsinghpur in the eastern state of Odisha (previously known as Orissa), which lies in between the state capital of Bhubaneshawar and the Bay of Bengal. On one side of the struggle are some 3,000 families who grow betel vines on small farms that dot a 4,000-acre parcel of mostly forested lands. Each plot generates $250 to $450 a month in income. One the other side is the Pohang Iron and Steel Company (POSCO) one of the world’s top five steel producers. It operates two of the world's biggest steelworks at Pohang and Gwangyang in South Korea. They produce some 31.2 million tons of crude steel a year and generate $21.5 billion in revenue. In June 2005, POSCO signed a memorandum of understanding with the government of Odisha to build a steel plant in Jagatsinghpur. The five-year agreement has expired, and a new agreement is currently being negotiated.


As usual I have mixed feelings. While this news is no doubt devastating to the local farmers, it means big bucks for the government. The only problem with that money is that I don't believe it will trickle down and hundreds of families will be left destitute. It really makes me sad watching the march of progress destroy these more traditional farming communities. I also hate it when people who are being displaced have absolutely no voice. It's basically take this predetermined dollar amount, get the hell out or you get absolutely nothing.

POSCO apparently pledged to give at least one person from every family a job at the plant, but then you read this tidbit

"The local people do not have the expertise to work for us," a senior POSCO official told CorpWatch on condition of anonymity. "At best, we can offer jobs as gardeners or as daily wage [day laborers] during construction. But with a big project in their area, they will have ample scope to run small shops or become drivers."


I suppose that with a booming new plant there would be a fair number of jobs created, vendors and drivers as they said will be needed.

I'm guessing no one will care, and I will no doubt be labeled a bleeding heart. I realize it's not a whole lot of people being displaced, I just wonder how many more times something like this will happen and how much of the planet we will actually have left.

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posted on Sep, 6 2011 @ 12:12 PM
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reply to post by Domo1
 


Thanks for assuming we don't care about the world here on ATS...

That was the first thing I was gonna do was call you a 'bleeding heart'-type.

Pfft.


S&F for starting an important thread.



posted on Sep, 6 2011 @ 12:18 PM
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reply to post by RoswellCityLimits
 





Thanks for assuming we don't care about the world here on ATS...


Well that certainly wasn't a shot at ALL of ATS - Sorry to anyone offended.



 
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