Even as the Orissa government suspended land acquisition for the proposed mega steel plant of Posco in this seaside block in Jagatsinghpur district for an indefinite period on Tuesday, senior leaders of the Communist Party of India and Communist Party of India (Marxist) expressed their solidarity with the villagers opposing the venture.
Veteran CPI MP Gurudas Dasgupta and senior CPI(M) MP Basudev Acharya demanded that the Naveen Patnaik government stop forceful land acquisition for Posco and withdraw armed policemen from the locality without delay.
They also assured the agitators that they would take up their demands in Parliament next month.
They were addressing the gathering near Gobindpur village where the agitators, including many women and children, have formed a human barricade to block the entry of government officials and police for demolishing their betel vineyards and acquire land.
Although the State government announced a halt in land acquisition in view of the growing support for the agitation from different parties, including the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party, during the past few days, Mr. Dasgupta and Mr. Acharya urged the agitating villagers to continue with their resistance till the State government announced shifting of the project from the area.
Extending their support to the agitation being spearheaded by the Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti, both the leaders said they had not come as party leaders. They had come to express solidarity on behalf of the people of the country.
“The Naveen Patnaik government wants to sell Orissa to Posco in lieu of the huge amounts of money it received from that company,” alleged Mr. Dasgupta, while blaming Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for not visiting the area to talk to the agitating villagers as he had promised last year.
The former legislator and senior Congress leader Umesh Swain too addressed the agitating villagers whose numbers swelled during the day with hundreds of people from nearby Nuagaon village joining the protest.
There was a loud cheer from the crowd when the leaders extended their support to the agitation.
Sangram Samiti president Abhay Sahu announced that they would observe Wednesday as Black Day as it was on June 22 in 2005 that the State government had signed the memorandum of understanding with Posco for the establishment of the proposed steel plant.