Anti-POSCO resistance rallies against proposed land acquisition

The Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) has decided to organise a rally at Gobindpur village on Monday to reiterate its opposition to land acquisition for the mega steel project of Posco.

This comes at a time when the Odisha government is getting ready to acquire more land for the proposed project.

The rally is being organised to oppose the government’s move to acquire another 700 acres of land in and around the village by creating a division among the villagers, PPSS spokesperson Prashant Paikray told The Hindu on Saturday.

The 700 acres of government land (coming under forest and non-forest category) had more than 500 betel vines, the main source of livelihood for the villagers, said Mr. Paikray.

The land also had about one lakh casuarina trees.

The rally will be held at Balitikira, the place where the PPSS had been continuing with a dharna since June 2011 to prevent the authorities from acquiring more land for the proposed steel mill.

Hundreds of people from the three gram panchayats of Dhinkia, Nuagaon and Gadakujang will take part in the rally.

“We will resist any move of the government to acquire more land for the project in order to prevent the loss of livelihood sources for thousands of people,” Mr. Paikray said.

The State government, which had acquired 2,000 acres for the project, had decided to acquire another 700 acres to enable the company to establish a steel mill of 8 million tonne per annum capacity plant in two phases. The company had originally planned to set up a 12 million tonne capacity plant in three phases over 4,004 acres of land.

Mr. Paikray further said PPSS had also decided not to take part in the Rehabilitation and Peripheral Development Advisory Committee (RPDAC) meeting which the administration was planning to organise to discuss enhancement of the rehabilitation and resettlement package for those facing displacement.

“We have rejected the package, and we are firm in our demand for the withdrawal of the project from the area,” said Mr. Paikray.

The State government had, so far, not been able to revise the memorandum of understanding signed with Posco in June 2005 which had expired in June 2010.

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Agitators ask Patnaik government to withdraw project from locality

Hundreds of villagers staged a rally at Gobindpur village of Odisha’s Jagatsinghpur district on Monday, to reiterate their strong opposition to a fresh move by the Naveen Patnaik government to acquire land for the proposed Posco mega steel plant project.

The villagers, who gathered at Dhinkia village despite heavy rains, told the administration and the company to refrain from making attempts to create divisions among the villagers.

They appealed to the State government to withdraw the project from their locality, instead of making preparations for acquiring land for the 12-million-tonne-capacity steel mill.

The meeting, which was organised by the Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti, was presided by the group’s leader, Abhay Sahu.

DHINKIA TO LEAD THE WAY

It was decided at the meeting that the residents of Dhinkia, the nerve centre of the anti-Posco agitation since 2005, would take the lead in strengthening the campaign against land acquisition in the coming days.

According to Sangram Samiti spokesperson Prashant Paikray, the villagers decided to hold similar meetings in some other villages of the area, such as Gobindpur, Patana, Nuagaon during the next few days, to prepare for a bigger rally at Batatikira at a later date.

PROTEST WILL BE PEACEFUL

The agitation will continue in a peaceful and democratic manner.

It was at Batatikira that the agitating villagers have been continuing with a relay dharna since June 2011.

Hundreds of children had taken part in the dharna initially, in order to prevent the administration and police from entering Gobindpur village to acquire land.

MOVE TO INTENSIFY STIR

The Samiti decided to intensify its agitation as the State government was preparing to acquire 700 acres of government land that had more than 500 betel vines belonging to the villagers.

2,700 ACRES NEEDED

The acquisition of another 700 acres had become necessary for the government as it had acquired approximately 2,000 acres so far, and the company was in need of 2,700 acres to start construction of the first two phases of the proposed plant.

[Sources — The Hindu & The Hindu]


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