PM stand on Posco triggers protest

KENDRAPADA: Large numbers of anti-land acquisition villagers on Monday criticized the statement of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh assuring South Korean President Lee Myung- Bak in Seoul to help Posco to build a steel plant in Dhinkia, Nuagaon and Gadakujang gram panchayats of Jagatsinghpur district.

“We are shocked to know that the President of South Korea is interested in a private company like Posco. It is none of the South Korean government’s business whether the people of India allow Posco project on their land or not,” said Sishir Mohapatra, general secretary of Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS).

Anti-Posco activists warned the state government that unless the discontent among locals over acquisition of land was properly addressed, the area may turn into a hotbed of a violent movement and in no time become another Kalinganagar.

“PPSS has been opposing the establishment of the steel plant since the past six years. But the president of South Korea is dancing to the tune of Posco and our Prime Minister kowtowed before Lee Myung Bak by promising him to help Posco to build the steel plant after acquiring 4,004 acres of fertile lands in our areas,” said Prakash Jena, an anti-land acquisition leader of PPSS in Dhinkia, the bastion of anti-land acquisition movement.

“It was wrong and unethical on the part of South Korea President Lee Myung Bak on Sunday to seek Indian government’s cooperation in building the steel plant in Odisha in the face of people’s agitation over land acquisition for the project,” said Prakash Paikray, spokesperson of PPSS.

BJD leader and MLA of Earasama-Balikuda, Prasanta Mudali, said on the other hand, “Large numbers of people will get jobs and other benefits after the construction of the steel plant. This is the biggest FDI in the country. Some persons with an ulterior motive have been opposing the proposed steel plant. But the government is determined to build the plant, for which the authority has already acquired 2,000 acres of land.”

United Action Committee, a pro-Posco outfit, also criticized the statement of the Prime Minister in Seoul, however. “The United Action Committee (UAC), a pro-Posco outfit, had earlier agreed to support the land acquisition work wholeheartedly after the authority assured us to fulfill our six points of demands in a meeting at Cuttack last year. But the authority is yet to fulfill our demands, due to which we are hell bent on opposing the move of the government to acquire more land for the steel plant project,” said UAC president Anadi Rout. “Apart from proper compensation, we also demanded at least one job per displaced family in the areas. But the authority betrayed us and we decided to oppose any construction work for Posco,” added Rout.

[Source – Odiaa.com]

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