Far from the lights, a silent puja

Kendrapada: Residents of Dhinkia gram panchayat and neighbouring villages, the epicentre of anti-Posco movement in Jagatsinghpur district, are not celebrating Durga Puja this year too. They have been skipping the festival for the past six years in protest against the proposed steel plant of the South Korean company.

The recent decision of the government to hand over land to Posco within two months came as the latest dampener for the anti-land acquisition brigade.

“There were celebrations in the villages on March 31 after the National Green Tribunal (NGT) scrapped the environment clearance of Posco to build the steel plant in Dhinkia, Nuagaon and Gadakujang gram panchayats. But the joy evaporated after the government decided to acquire land for the project,” said Manorama Khatua of Dhinkia village.

Recalling the Durga Puja celebrated seven years ago in his village, Basanta Mohapatra (19) of Patana said, “I used to look forward to the four-day festivity as nobody would ask me to study during those days.”

Like Basanta, many residents of Dhinkia, Patana, Gobindapur and Trilochanpur villages skipped the festival over the land row.

Trouble brewed in the villages after the state government announced six years back to provide 4,004 acres to the steel behemoth to build the steel plant at a cost of Rs 51,000 crore, the biggest-single FDI in the country. “The state government acquired my two acres of betel vines last year. I have been running from pillar to post to get compensation,” said Prasanta Jena of Noliasahi village.

[Source — The Times of India]

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