Nation-wide protest planned against Orissa SEZ

Staff Reporter

Bangalore: The POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samithi (PPSS) has threatened to launch a nation-wide protest against the proposed Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in a tribal area in Orissa during the visit of South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak as chief guest for next year’s Republic Day.

South Korea-based POSCO had entered into a memorandum of understanding with the Government of Orissa in 2005 for establishing a plant on 4,000 acres of land inhabited by tribal people. The land is the only source of livelihood for the inhabitants, most of whom are farmers and fishermen.

With the South Korean President expected to lay the foundation stone of the plant in the disputed area, leader of PPSS Abhay Sahu said “We are not going to allow POSCO or the government to take even an inch of our land,” said Mr. Sahu.

“We are not going to retreat... Let the Government deploy paramilitary forces. The anti-POSCO men and women are ready to lay down their lives,” he said while delivering a talk here on Saturday. Citing the extent of damage the proposed plant would cause, Mr. Sahu, said that around 4,000 families would be directly displaced and lakhs of villagers living in the downstream area of Jatadhar river, would be deprived of their only source of livelihood — farming and fishing. Jagadish Chandra, a supporter of PPSS, accused POSCO of making efforts to influence media, judiciary, police and the Government.

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