Special Correspondent

Party leaders visit site; pledge support to Sangharsh Samiti

Party to organise various programmes to oppose the transfer of land

The Bill was passed in the House despite opposition

BHUBANESWAR: The Bharatiya Janata Party on Saturday announced its decision to oppose the establishment of the proposed Vedanta University near Puri town.

A number of senior leaders of the party visited the site selected for the university project during the day and extended their support to the agitation being spearheaded by Vedanta University Virodhi Sangharsh Samiti.

The Samiti has been strongly opposing the State government’s decision to hand over more than 6,000 acres of land to Anil Agarwal Foundation, the organisation which had planned to set up the proposed world-class university.

Leader of the BJP Legislature Party in the State Assembly K.V. Singh Deo, who led the party leaders to visit the proposed site, said the party will fully support the agitation against the university project from now on.

Senior party leader and former Union Minister Jual Oram said the party would organise various programmes to oppose the transfer of land to the Anil Agarwal Foundation in different parts of the State.

Public meeting

A public meeting was held at Beldal village during the visit of the BJP leaders to the area. President of the Sangharsh Samiti Benudhar Pradhan and former legislator of Puri Assembly seat Uma Ballav Rath were present.

Mr. Pradhan said that the villagers opposing the university project would not part with their agricultural land at any cost. Two rivulets – Nuanai and Dhanua – were also passing through the land earmarked for the proposed university.

The legislators of BJP had strongly opposed the Vedanta University Bill in the State Assembly during the budget session in July on various grounds.

The Bill was, however, passed in the House despite opposition from BJP and Congress legislators.

While a memorandum of understanding was signed between the Foundation and the State government, the latter had assured to provide 8,000 acres of land for the university project. However, the government subsequently announced to give 6,000-odd acres.

The project has been facing opposition from various quarters since long. A number of prominent citizens had recently opposed the university project at a discussion organised by Odisha Jana Sammilani in Bhubaneswar recently.