Agitators ask Patnaik government to withdraw project from locality

Hundreds of villagers staged a rally at Gobindpur village of Odisha’s Jagatsinghpur district on Monday, to reiterate their strong opposition to a fresh move by the Naveen Patnaik government to acquire land for the proposed Posco mega steel plant project.

The villagers, who gathered at Dhinkia village despite heavy rains, told the administration and the company to refrain from making attempts to create divisions among the villagers.

They appealed to the State government to withdraw the project from their locality, instead of making preparations for acquiring land for the 12-million-tonne-capacity steel mill.

The meeting, which was organised by the Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti, was presided by the group’s leader, Abhay Sahu.

Dhinkia to lead the way

It was decided at the meeting that the residents of Dhinkia, the nerve centre of the anti-Posco agitation since 2005, would take the lead in strengthening the campaign against land acquisition in the coming days.

According to Sangram Samiti spokesperson Prashant Paikray, the villagers decided to hold similar meetings in some other villages of the area, such as Gobindpur, Patana, Nuagaon during the next few days, to prepare for a bigger rally at Batatikira at a later date.

Protest will be peaceful

The agitation will continue in a peaceful and democratic manner.

It was at Batatikira that the agitating villagers have been continuing with a relay dharna since June 2011.

Hundreds of children had taken part in the dharna initially, in order to prevent the administration and police from entering Gobindpur village to acquire land.

Move to intensify stir

The Samiti decided to intensify its agitation as the State government was preparing to acquire 700 acres of government land that had more than 500 betel vines belonging to the villagers.

2,700 acres needed

The acquisition of another 700 acres had become necessary for the government as it had acquired approximately 2,000 acres so far, and the company was in need of 2,700 acres to start construction of the first two phases of the proposed plant.

Keywords: Posco plant