Oppose laying of coastal road

Stiff opposition from the locals against acquisition of land for the proposed Posco steel project and the construction of a coastal road from Paradip to the project site has forced the Jagatsinghpur district administration to stop the project work.

Residents of Dhinkia and Nuagaon gram panchayats on Saturday held a public meeting to oppose the laying of the road. The road work began near Paradip on Friday.

Raising slogans against the Naveen Patnaik government, they resolved to continue their opposition to land acquisition and road-laying.

“We will not allow the construction of the road,” said Prashant Paikray, spokesperson of Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti.

The Samiti has been spearheading the agitation since 2005, demanding the shifting of the project site to another place to protect the land and livelihood sources of thousands of people of the gram panchayats of Dhinkia, Nuagaon and Gadakujang.

The administration has not been able to carry out any tree felling or ground levelling work for the past three days with the Kunjabihari Gramya Suraksha Committee, an outfit of the residents of the Gadakujang panchayat, not allowing officials and workers to enter their area.

The dharna by the Samiti outside Gobindpur village and another dharna by Bhitamati Suraksha Samiti in Nuagaon village continued with the State government showing no interest in holding talks with the villagers. The Samiti has been staging a dharna since June 2.

The government has so far not been able to renew the memorandum of understanding it signed with Posco for establishing steel plant and a captive port. The MoU expired in June last.

The renewal of the MoU has been delayed with Posco taking time to agree to the changes that the State government wanted to make in the MoU signed in June 2005.

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