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One killed, 25 injured in Posco clash over road construction

Police remove protestors and wooden barricades erected by them to prevent construction work at Posco project site at Gadakujang village near Paradip. on Sept. 09, 2011. A PTI file photo.  

A man was killed and 25 others were injured on Wednesday in a clash between anti-Posco brigade and a private contractor over construction of a coastal road linking the steel plant site near Paradip.

Jagatsinghpur SP S Devadutt Singh said crude bombs and other weapons were used by the clashing groups and a person, identified as Dijabar Swain (30) of Kujanga area, died in the violence.

Two others, who went missing for some time after the clash, have been found and both are safe, he said.

While 15 injured belonged to Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS), the deceased and 10 others had been engaged by the contractor, police said.

No arrest had been made so far and investigation was on, Mr. Singh said adding two complaints had been received from both sides.

The clash took place a day after the contractor, awarded the road construction work by Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation, resumed work for the 10-km controversial coastal road from Mahal near IOCL refinery to the proposed Posco site with hi-tech machines after 90 days, police said.

PPSS and local villagers had been opposing the coastal road project since long.

Tension ran high this morning when alleged hired goons of the contractor forcibly evicted PPSS activists who were on dharna at the road construction site.

District Collector N C Jena said the administration had not been informed of the construction work and so no police were deployed at the site.

Holding the State government responsible for the clash, Congress, CPI and CPI(M) have demanded a judicial probe into the incident.

Slamming the State government for awarding the job to a private contractor without any open tender, state Congress president Niranjan Patnaik alleged that people with criminal background were given the construction work.

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