You're missing a lot of important concepts. Firstly, init params in a servlet are only available to the declared servlet. Perhaps its context params that you are thinking of?
And if that's the case, context params will not be available via scriptlets. What led you to believe that they would be. And... if you are using Tomcat 6, why would you be using scriptlets in place of the EL and JSTL?
Check out the implicit variables of the EL to find out how to access context params.
I was thinking about context-param as well like you pointed out as a possible reason.
I did not know context-params would be unavailable through scriptlets. Basically, I saw another implementation of a web application where the web.xml file had this declaration (among many others). And a JSP page was accessing this parameter through a scriptlet. But there is a controller servlet in between, which is the reason why this won't work.