The anti-Posco agitation gathered strength with activist Vandana Shiva joining the dharna against the mega steel plant near on Thursday even as Orissa government stepped up work for construction of boundary wall around the land already acquired for the project.

Noted environmentalist and agricultural scientist Vandana Shiva participated in the ongoing dharna by the locals against Posco’s proposed Rs. 52,000 crore project at Gobindpur in Jagatsinghpur district and extended her support to the agitators.

“There is no justification for setting up the steel plant in the fertile land in the area where rural economy has prospered with multi-crop farming and other economic activities like fisheries and plantation,” she said.

Slamming the Orissa government for trying to oust the villagers from the area and snatch away their livelihood to favour the South Korean steel major, Shiva said the vast forest cover and ecology of the area would be destroyed if the project was set up.

Justifying the use of children in the anti-project agitation, she said the kids have every right to participate in the stir as the issue involves their very existence and future.

“Moreover, the children are accompanied by their parents and seniors,” she said observing that the children were being imparted education at the dharna site.

The government, however, accelerated work for building boundary wall around the land already acquired in Gadakujang panchayat area with the help of high-tech machinery and equipment, Jagatsinghpur district Collector N C Jena said.

Stating that the administration had already acquired about 1800 acre land, he said work for rehabilitation colony for displaced people had also picked up.

Levelling, sand filling and digging work for construction was being undertaken by state-owned Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (IIDCO), Jena said.

The administration has also initiated steps to identify workers who were engaged in betel vines which have been acquired for the Posco project. Sarpanchs of Gadakijang and Nuagaon have been given the prescribed forms for the purpose, officials said.

Meanwhile, Anadi Rout, who had resigned as president of United Action Committee (UAC), a pro-project body, was again back as the UAC president following a meeting of committee leaders who demanded early fulfilment of their six-point charter of demands.