Posco opponents observe ‘black day’

Special Correspondent
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Villagers demand that the State government shift the project site to any other location without delay

IN AGITATION MODE:Anti-Posco activists holding a demonstration in Bhubaneswar on Saturday.— Photo: Lingaraj Panda
IN AGITATION MODE:Anti-Posco activists holding a demonstration in Bhubaneswar on Saturday.— Photo: Lingaraj Panda

Hundreds of villagers opposing establishment of the proposed steel project of Posco in Jagatsinghpur district reiterated their opposition to the venture when they observed the day as ‘black day’ on Saturday. The memorandum of understanding for the project was signed between the South Korean steel major and Odisha government on this day eight years ago.

The protest meeting was held at Patana Haat in Dhinkia gram panchayat of Jagatsinghpur after the agitating villagers came in procession from different hamlets to demand that the Naveen Patnaik Government shift the project site to any other location without delay.

The protest meeting was attended by social activists and leaders of several political parties including the Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India(Marxist), Forward Bloc, Samajwadi Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Communist Party of India(Marxist-Leninist) and Socialist Unity Centre of India(Communist).

The villagers and the leaders who addressed the gathering demanded immediate withdrawal of the police camp from nearby Gobindpur village. They also sought immediate withdrawal of false cases pending against the villagers and release of Abhay Sahu, president of Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti who was presently lodged in jail.

Similar dharnas and meetings were also organised at different parts of the State including the capital city of Bhubaneswar.

A large number of people and anti-displacement activists who attended a meeting at Mahatma Gandhi Marg of Bhubaneswar blamed the State government for ignoring the genuine demands of the people of Dhinkia, Nuagaon and Gadakujang gram panchayats in Jagatsinghpur who had been opposing the Posco project since June 2005.

Those who addressed the meeting criticised the State government for continuing the land acquisition process in Dhinkia area even though it had failed to renew the MoU for the proposed steel plant that had expired in June 2010.

Activists of four Leftist parties organised a joint demonstration in the city to observe Saturday as black day to mark the eighth anniversary of signing of an MoU between Odisha government and the Posco.

The organisations that took part in this demonstration include CPI-ML (New Democracy), CPI-ML (Liberation), SUCI (Communist) and CPI-ML (Red Star). These four organisations had given a joint call for observation of Saturday as Black Day. They staged demonstration in front of the office of the Revenue Divisional Commissioner (RDC), southern division, in the city.

The agitators also burnt effigies of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, alleging that both the State and the Central governments were promoting the proposed steel project of the Posco in Jagatsinghpur district of Odisha without considering the loss of life and livelihood of inhabitants of the area.

B.C.Sadangi, the spokesperson of CPI-ML (New Democracy), said they staged protests to create awareness about three issues. “We want government to scarp the anti-people steel project of Posco,” he said. The other two demands were end of alleged corporate loot of natural resources in the name of industrialisation and check on forcible land acquisition for private companies.

According to sources, the CPI-ML (New Democracy) activists staged similar demonstrations at Sorada in Ganjam district, Paralakhemundi in Gajapati district, Daringbadi in Kandhamal district and Gunupur in Rayagada district. Activists of CPI-ML (Liberation) staged similar protest in Rayagada town.

  • MoU for steel plant signed on this day eight years ago

  • Withdrawal of police camp near Gobindpur village sought

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