Updates

Updates from POSCO Pratirodh Sangam Samiti (PPSS)

2013: April 19April 15April 4March 24March 10March 6March 2February 25February 11February 8February 5February 3January 31January 22January 17January 11January 4

2012: December 7, October 21, September 24August 22, July 10, June 23, June 8, June 1, May 21, May 06, March 31March 30March 16, March 11March 4, February 2, January 4

2011December 26, December 20December 14December 7December 3, November 2, November 1, October 17, September 29, September 19September 4, August 21, August 12, August 10, August 1, July 18, June 27, June 24, June 24, June 19, May 2, April 10, March 13, February 15,  January 31, 2011

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Update from POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) as on 19th April 2013

Dear Friends,

PPSS welcomes the verdict of Supreme court yesterday (i.e. 18th April 2013)  on  the issues of mining in Niyamagiri hills of Odisha. The verdict said that it’s upto the Gram Sabha (Village-level Assembly) to decide whether to allow mining in Niyamgiri Hills by the Vedanta Group. The Supreme Court has upheld the authority of Gram Sabha to control, manage and use the mineral resources in Niyamagiri hills. This comes as a very welcome judgment where community rights over mineral resources has been protected. This is a victory of long-drawn struggle of the adivasis in Niyamagiri hills and throughout the state.

It may be reminded that Gram Sabha of Dhinkia Panchayat of Jagatsinghpur district in Odisha held on 18th October 2012 had passed a resolution unanimously against the diversion of forest land for non-forest purposes. With the spirit of the Supreme court judgement on Niyamagiri hill, the state government should respect the decision of our Gram sabhha and scrap the POSCO project outright.

I would also like to bring your attention to the latest Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report. The CAG in its latest report, tabled in the assembly has found the Odisha government guilty of extending large scale undue benefits to steel major POSCO in allotment of a piece of land in the state capital Bhubaneswar. The government disregarded all norms in allotting the land with shameless favoritism.  While allotting the land, zonal regulation was ignored and the land was gifted away at an abysmally low premium. The CAG report is very scathing on it.

The CAG report said that the country arm of South Korean steel major Posco-India had applied for allotment of a plot measuring 12,000 square feet for its chairman-cum-managing director’s (CMD) residence-cum-guest house in 2006. However, later it enhanced the requirement twice to 25,000 sq.ft. in April 2007 and later 2 acres for the same purpose. Various committees, including committees appointed by Central Government, have unearthed serious illegalities in POSCO’s other operations earlier. Many more are still buried beneath as vested authorities try their best to hide those and get away with it. While proofs are piling up, our people are bewildered by a complete hijack of governance mechanism to patronize POSCO and connive with the POSCO and harming our basic life and livelihood sources as well as the interest of the larger society.

As the government is unwilling to play the ‘Rajdharm’ we are determined to put up a peaceful-democratic fight against this unholy alliance between the government and POSCO.

On April 12, 2013, the Left parties and various mass movements staged demonstrations at Bhubaneswar demanding withdrawal of police force from the proposed plant site area. Demonstrations were also held in various district headquarters in response to a call by CPI to observe ‘All India Solidarity Day’. The protestors held the placards saying “Posco Go Back” and “Stop Forcible Land Acquisition”.

As we have shared earlier a 12-member team consisting of human rights activists, journalists, academicians, democratic rights and civil liberty activists conducted a visit to our area on March 9, 2013  to take stock of the situation after the March 2 bomb blast in which three of our frontline activists died and one got seriously injured. The report of the fact finding team brings into the fore another evidence of the state’s cruelty. While releasing the report eminent legal luminary Justice Rajinder Sachar was awestruck by the fact that three people got killed in a bomb explosion and yet no inquiry was conducted into the incidence. ‘The incident was ghastly and the action of the government is horrible’, said Justice Sachar. That Committee in its report has demanded a high level judicial inquiry into the incident. You can read the whole report here.

In a separate but bizarre development we have come to know, from media reports, about POSCO’s attempt to influence a section media in its favour by sponsoring a pleasure trip for some journalists to Pune and other such places. But we firmly believe on the impartial character of our media friends who will continue to expose the POSCO’s illegalitiesand the government’s undue favor.

Attaching herewith an e-petition for your endorsement prepared by  an organization SOLIDARITÉ based in France for your information. Here is the petition, in French and English.

Kindly forward this mail widely.

Hoping for solidarity,

Prashant Paikary
Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti
Mobile no-09437571547
E-Mail – prashantpaikary@gmail.com

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Ministery of Environment and Forest’s (MOEF) Roy Paul Committee Report Reveals More Illegalities, Exposes Project’s Destructive Potential

At a time when our people are facing bombs, lathis and violence in order to defend their basic rights to their homes, lands and livelihoods, yet another official committee has confirmed that the POSCO project is being pushed through without a thought for the welfare of the people of the area or of this country.

On October 22nd 2012, the second official review committee to be constituted on the POSCO project – constituted in May 2012  (this time, on the directions of the National Green Tribunal on March 31, 2012) submitted its report to the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF). This report has not yet been made public but has been obtained by an Right to Information (RTI) request.

The POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) wishes to bring the following key points from the report to the attention of the public in this regard:

  • The Odisha government and POSCO are lying when they say they have decided to reduce the project size to 2700 acres and “leave out” most of the private and forest lands in the villages of Dhinkia and Govindpur. Till date their plant layout lists the plant’s substation, water supply facilities, main office for phase I, two gates, etc. in the land that they supposedly do not want. The committee has asked POSCO to submit a revised layout and also unambiguously state that this will not affect their expansion plans.
  • The Committee notes that, eight years after signing an MoU to start the project, the government and POSCO have yet to carry out the following basic studies:
    1. Assessing how much water is actually available in the area and whether this area can support such a huge plant;
    2. Impacts on fisheries, which support more than 20,000 people in the area;
    3. A plan for management of oil spills;
    4. Impact of dredging of material for the private port;
    5. Impact on marine ecology and wildlife from the plant;
    6. Critical long term study for captive port
  • The Committee also says that therefore the project needs to submit a fresh Environment Impact Assessment report for its revised layout. Hence, the entire process effectively has to start again.
  • The Committee has also clearly said that expansion of any project in the area (not just POSCO) should be considered only after a carrying capacity study.

In short, as per the findings of the Roy Paul committee, this project has never been studied properly and could – in other words – pose a serious risk to the entire area. The committee hence confirms the finding of the NGT that “a project of this magnitude particularly in partnership with a foreign country has been dealt with casually, without there being any comprehensive scientific data regarding the possible environmental impacts. No meticulous scientific study was made on each and every aspect of the matter leaving lingering and threatening environmental and ecological doubts un-answered.”

It is a different matter that the Roy Paul Committee has incorrectly limited its own mandate – looking only at “conditions” of the 2011 environment clearance rather than a full review as mandated in their Terms of Reference (ToR) as well as directions of the NGT. It also tries to claim that the revised EIA can be made and the process go ahead without a public hearing or a new environmental clearance – but this is simply illegal. None of this attempt to shield POSCO and their former colleagues changes the facts that the Committee reveals.

Three of our people have given up their lives to stop this illegal and unjust project. What the Committee report confirms is that no one – including the government that is unleashing brute force against us – has any idea how many more lives will be lost, and how much more damage caused, if this project indeed comes up. It is time that the State and Central government stopped acting on behalf of POSCO as its agent and instead take the serious social, human rights environmental and legal issues on board to reject the project in its entirety.

Prashant Paikary
Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti
Mobile no-09437571547
E-Mail – prashantpaikary@gmail.com

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Update from POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti as on 4th April 2013

Dear Friends,

On 3rd April 2013, around 1500 villagers, including women and children, joined the indefinite protest in the Gobindapur village where the armed police forces camping.  They have decided that they will continue the protest day and night with the demand for unconditional withdrawal of the armed police camps from the village. Leaders from different political parties like All Indian National Congress, Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India (Marxist), CPI-ML, CPI-ML (Liberation), CPI-ML (ND), SUCI (C), Forward Block, Samajvadi Party, Rastriya Janata Dal, Janata Dal (U), Aam Admi Party, Lok Shakti Abhiyan, Samajvadi Jan Parishad, Odisha Jan Morcha, Republican Party of India along with a few progressive organizations and individuals of eminence addressed the meeting on Wednesday, held near the police camp at Gobindapur.

We are apprehending that the state government would resume forceful acquisition of our land after the state assembly session ends on April 6, 2013.

As you know, in march first week, three of our villagers Tarun mandal,  Manas Jena, Narahari Sahoo were killed when bombs were hurled at them by the project supporters and earlier Tarun’s elder brother Tapan alias Dula Mandal was killed in 2008. The lives of the wives and children of the deceased have been shattered. They are living an life of fear and uncertainty as  and they do not know what the future holds for them. Pravati Mandal (26), wife of late Tarun Mandal of Gobindapur is left alone to take care of their two-year-old daughter. Pravati is now relying on the food supplied by our  villagers. Jharana Jena (28), wife of late Manas Jena, a betel vine farmer of Gobindapur, faces not only grave financial difficulties but also the challenge on how to save their betel vines and lands from being acquired for the steel mill.

The police instead of taking action against the killers of the three persons are trying to arrest our people and have clamped false cases against us.

We will hold a joint demonstration of all political parties in Bhubaneswar on 12th April to oppose  POSCO; we call upon our friends and sympathizers .

On March 26,  in a major development,  likeminded political forces cutting across party line came together and organized a massive demonstration program in the capital city of Bhubaneswar demanding full stop to ongoing police repression and violence in proposed project areas of POSCO Company in Dhinkia GP of Jagasingpur district. They also demanded full stop to forcible land acquisition and withdrawal of the project from the area. They met the new Odisha Governor Sri  Senayangba Chubatoshi Jamir at Raj Bhawan with a list of demands. Attaching below the memorandum  to Governor of Odisha  for your information. (Annex -1)

Recently, two human rights defenders as a part of Advocacy mission team visited to South Korea.  Please find below the press release for your information (Annex- 2).

Please find herewith a video statement of Debendra , one of the  PPSS activist  on the recent human rights violation by the State government.  We are expressing our gratitude to the Video Voulnteers for preparing this video.

Kindly forward this mail widely.

Hoping for solidarity,

Prashant Paikary
Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti
Mobile no-09437571547
E-Mail – prashantpaikary@gmail.com

Annex -1

To
His Excellency Senayangba Chubatoshi Jamir
Hon’ble Governer of Odisha,
Raj Bhawan, Bhubaneswar                                                                       March 26, 2013

Sub:  Memorandum submitted by POSCO Pratirodha Solidarity  Samiti

Respected Rajyapalji,

We the representatives of Indian National Congress, Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India (Marxist), CPI-ML, CPI-ML (Liberation), CPI-ML (ND), SUCI (C), Forward Block, Samajvadi Party, Rastriya Janata Dal, Janata Dal (U) Aam Admi Party, Lok Shakti Abhiyan, Samajvadi Jan Parishad,Odisha Jan Morcha, Republican Party of India along with the undersigned organizations and  individuals crave your kind indulgence on the continued police atrocities and prolonged repression on the villagers in the Dhinkia and Baligotha of Jagatsinghpur District by the State Government machinery and private militia to protect the interest of POSCO India Private Ltd., an Indian subsidiary of Korean conglomerate POSCO. The constitution of India is facing the worst of its crisis in this region as the elected government of the state is subverting democracy and rights guaranteed by the constitution of India just to sub serve the interests of a private multinational company who has come here just for maximizing its profit. Ignoring established laws and procedures and with total disregards to the facts that the company’s environmental clearance has been stayed by National Green Tribunal, Mining case is still pending in the Apex Court and water availability along with port clearance are yet to be decided, the state government is using all its means to forcibly acquire the rich and fertile agricultural land despite strong resistance by the locals who have so far lost four lives.

Though the ways, means and methods of industrialization in the state has remained an issue of contention and contestations which we don’t want right now to apprise you with but we feel that there is no justification for setting up Steel Plant in the fertile agricultural land where rural economy has prospered with multi crop farming and other economic activities like fisheries and betel leaf plantation. The State Administration has not been able to implement the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 for the villagers who are living in those areas for ages, and despite having documentary evidence in favour of existence of tribal’s and other traditional Forest Dwellers. The official Gram Sabha of Dhinkia in the presence of government officials has voted against transfer of forest land for the company on October 18, 2012 and prior to that twice.

But such a democratic move was not respected and rather was responded to with increased violence in partnership with private militia. And as a result of this violence and deaths happening since February 3, 2013 which reached a culmination point on March 2, 2013 when 3 people got killed in a bomb explosion. The armed police have made life miserable for the common villagers and lots of false cases have been files against people forcing them not to move out. The threat of State and company sponsored violence looms large over hundreds of farmer who are protecting their life and livelihood in the midst of hundreds of policemen. We seek your urgent benign intervention. In the light of the aforesaid facts and circumstances we demand the followings before you to instruct the state Government.

Our Appeal:

  1. Please ask the state government to stop forcible land acquisition for POSCO project in the Govindapur area of Jagatsinghpur district.
  2. Please ask for withdrawal of armed police deployed in Dhinkia Gram Panchayat area and to take positive and proactive measures to ensure peace and normalcy in that village and not to take the pretext of using police to defend the POSCO ‘supporters’ who are being nurtured by the company.
  3. All rights violations must stop and your good office may order impartial investigation of all violations done so far which will enlighten you about the magnitude of the problem.
  4. Land Pattas should be issued in favor of the people those who have been possessed the government land since generation’s which they are entitled to at least under FRA 2006 by recognizing Rights of the Forest Dwellers and Tribals as   per the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006.
  5. If the government can’t honor, at least it should not dishonor and do things to harm a democratic peaceful resistance against displacing from life and livelihood resources.

With deep democratic regards

Annex-2

Press Release:

POSCO Undermines Indian Democracy, Democratic Dissent, Rights of Citizens and Justice- All that Guaranteed by Indian Constitution & International Laws

‘Anywhere in the world if democracy exists, they must prevent POSCO-like corporation from going ahead with its assault on the democratic values, principles, laws and rights of another sovereign country even if the host country’s political, bureaucratic and media is seen to be patronizing the company and facilitating its entry in one or the other pretext.’(A senior Journalist in Odisha)

Despite the fact that Indian citizens of the state of Odisha in the lowest unit of their democracy-the Gram Sabha rejecting the proposal of POSCO to establish a steel plant at the cost of their prime agricultural land, rich betel vines and fishery resources which they did thrice by taking majority resolutions in a body sanctioned and respected by Indian Constitution, the company has shown only its ‘determination’ to go ahead with the project at a huge cost to the rights of Indian citizens and by causing untold miseries for the democratic protesters. The Gram Sabhas (a constitutionally recognized body of all citizens relating to the villages belonging to a Panchayat – Local Self-Governing Unit) have rejected three times (March, 2008; February, 2010 & October, 2012) the POSCO project in their villages. For the last seven years they have been peacefully resisting POSCO, in-spite of all kinds of intimidations and harassments by the Indian government and POSCO followers.

Why do Affected People reject POSCO?

Displacements: 4004 acres of land earmarked for the POSCO’s plant project is going to evict an estimated 22,000 people and indirectly disrupt the livelihoods of another 30,000 people, just in Jagatsingphur District. People will lose their houses, homestead and agricultural lands, common property resources and all sustainable sources of livelihoods.

Loss of Sustainable Livelihoods Systems – Degradation of the Standard of Living for Local People: 22,000 people depending on agriculture, fishing, and forestry since generations will directly loss their traditional and sustainable sources of livelihoods and jobs.  Small-holding betel vine cultivation provides a steady, sustainable income for people living in the affected area, amounting in some cases to over three times the average Indian income while cultivating land plots less than a tenth the size of an acre.

An additional 30,000 small scale fisherman also stand to lose their source of livelihood.  It is this way of life that people resisting the project are defending and they assert that POSCO-India can never adequately compensate them for it. There is little possibility the purported job creation will benefit the local residents, as they do not have the skills needed to work for a steel plant and offspring industries that is supposed to be created. They might be forced to take low paid, insecure and easily replaceable jobs such as cleaning, manual luggage carriers and the like.

Villagers are anticipating that POSCO’s project will destroy a peaceful and sustainable way of life that has been passed down from generation to generation, thereby threatening the livelihoods of local residents and the future of their children. While the project would destroy whole communities and local economies, should this forced eviction proceed it will amount to grave violations of several fundamental human rights, including those related to housing, food, water, health and work. Here it does not include twenty thousand indigenous people who will lose livelihoods due to the proposed mining project in  Sundhargarh  district (approx 300 km away from proposed steel plant area at Jagatsinghpur).

Noteworthy to mention that 42 families who have already moved to POSCO-India’s transit camp demonstrate how the evicted people are leading a wretched life over there without any work, poor housings, moving from economic prosperity into poverty, removal from their arable land has cut them off from their previous means of economic independence, leaving them dependent on a dole-like cash payment of 20 rupees (405 South Korean Won) per day.

Environmental Impacts: The project is going to have negative impacts on the environment and local biodiversity. Construction of the port is predicted to destroy the breeding ground of the endangered Olive Ridley turtle, and remove sand dunes that are a natural barrier against regular cyclones – like the one in 1999 that caused the death of 15,000 people. Local people protected by this natural barrier were spared the worst of the category 5 storm that destroyed other communities. POSCO-India plans to remove these dunes to build their port.

Disastrous Impact on Water sources: The POSCO plant will extract huge quantity of water from a rain-fed river already falling short from meeting the domestic and agricultural needs of local people and will affect 30000 farmers in the district. The disposal of waste waters from the plant will destroy the natural water outlets, canals, sea and affect fishermen and farmers.

Crackdown on people resisting forcible eviction: For the past seven years, POSCO has been morally complicit in state-sanctioned attacks and acts of repression by the Government of Odisha to suppress peaceful demonstrations and opposition against the company’s proposed project. Till now it has claimed five lives as a result of POSCO operations and POSCO was never found condemning any of such gruesome incidents. Rather, it shows collaborations of POSCO with the acts of government and private musclemen to terrorise people.

On March 2nd, 2013, at 6.30pm, a bomb killed 3 local community members, Manas Jena, Nabanu Mandal and Narahari Sahoo, and seriously wounded another, Laxman Paramanik. This is part of a long-running pattern of violence used to threaten and harm local people. For example, in 2008 Dula Mandal, another local person resisting the project was also killed.  In 2010 police opened fire on locals resisting the project, causing a widespread public outcry. These people have been violently targeted because they are part of the community of local people resisting the progress of the POSCO-India project in defense of their livelihoods, and access to land and natural resources.

The South Korea’s Ambassador Kim Joong Keun visited Odisha  on 6th march 2013. When people in the proposed POSCO project site are mourning the killing of 3 activists of the movement who were killed ina bomb attack on March 2, the Ambassador did not say anything to  express his grief. He was obsessed with the progress of POSCO project.

From February 2013 onwards there is continuous deployment of five platoons of police at Govindpur village which has made villagers life miserable. The presence of police is only encouraging the criminal elements to unleash a region of terror in the proposed POSCO area. The villagers are in a constant fear that at any point of time the armed police forces resume the operation and take away their land.

Police Cases against Resisting Villagers – Deliberate Harassment of Local People: To date, the Odisha State Government has registered more than 230 criminal cases against the villagers and issued 1,500 warrants, 340 of which are women. Two individuals, who are under trial prisoners, remain incarcerated. Mostly the complainants are government officials, POSCO staffs and followers. The community leaders have been repeatedly jailed as a result of defending their human rights.

Seven Years’ Encirclement of Resisting Villagers – Unable to access medical services and children’s Education: Threats, arrests, tortures, harassment by police and POSCO followers, deployment of huge security forces, open challenges by mercenaries have forced the villagers not to cross their village boundary and kept aloof from the rest of the world as if in an open prison. People trying to come outside their village boundary for medical treatment, marketing or for any other urgent purposes are being abused or arrested on their way. Any complaint of victims of abuse or arbitrary arrest is not entertained in local police station.  Sick women, children and others are not able to access medical treatment since years together. Children are not able to attend educational institutions outside their villages. At least 14 women are suffering for years with severe gynecological disorders that need surgery. In January this year eighteen police platoons surrounded the area where communities are resisting the project and threatened to forcible enter the village and evict them. On this occasion the authorities did force themselves into the village and destroyed the local people’s primary means of livelihood, their betel vines that they rely on for the bulk of their income. Furthermore, the intimidation methods extend also to legal persecution.

Issues of Violation of Indian Laws with the POSCO-India project: According to the Forest Rights Act (2006) the consent of local people – as expressed during official community gatherings, known as a Gram Sabha – is required for this project to proceed. In this case local communities have officially voiced their rejection of the project in three legally binding community resolutions.

The original 2005 MoU for the project has expired, and on March 30, 2012, India’s National Green Tribunal (NGT) ordered a review of the 2011 final environmental clearance for the project, following which the Ministry of Environment and Forests has withdrawn this approval.  Furthermore, the captive port construction as planned would violate Indian coastal development regulations.

Many of these violations and irregularities were pointed out in the Majority Committee Report, of a review committee that was set up by the Ministry of Environment and Forests , Government of India in 2010. There have been deficiencies in the manner in which the forest diversion for the project was approved.  For instance, the decision was based solely on aerial inspection and telephonic verification. The first set of environment clearances granted in 2007 have also expired in May and July 2012. Despite all this, POSCO-India continues to initiate entry into the project area and carry out felling of trees as part of continuing the project construction in the absence of requisite legal approvals, which are mandatory prior to initiating any construction works.

Corrupting and Weakening Democratic Institutions and Functions in India: POSCO – India works an active collaborator with the forces that engaged in corruption, bribery within the administration and weakening democracy. The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has unearthed a land scam in Odisha, where the state government acquired land for industrial houses like POSCO by reportedly misusing existing provisions of the Land Acquisition Act. Media people are lured not to write any stories against POSCO.

Corporate Responsibility to Respect Human Rights:

UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: The United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (the ‘Guiding Principels’), requires that all business enterprises respect human rights. Specifically, this means that businesses are required to ‘avoid infringing on the human rights of others and should address adverse human rights impacts with which they are involved’. The responsibility of business enterprises to ‘respect human rights applies to all enterprises regardless of their size, sector, operational context, ownership and structure’.

The Guiding Principles require that all businesses ‘identify and assess any actual or potential adverse human rights impacts with which they may be involved either through their own activities or as a result of their business relationships’. In order to execute this duty, the investor relationship that your company has with the POSCO Corporation requires that you apply whatever leverage you have to ensure POSCO management respects the human rights of the people affected by their project in Odisha.

OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises: All companies based in states that are members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), are obliged to uphold the ‘Guidelines for Multi-National Enterprises’ (the ‘OECD Guidelines’). Chapter IV of the OECD Guidelines requires companies to “respect human rights, which means they should avoid infringing on the human rights of others and should address adverse human rights impacts with which they are involved”.  The Guidelines are applicable to financial institutions and to investors, including minority shareholders.

Another provision of the OECD Guidelines requires that companies engage with relevant stakeholders in order to provide meaningful opportunities for their views to be taken into account in relation to planning and decision making for projects, or other activities that may significantly impact local communities. In this case, the POSCO Corporation should heed the voice of local communities as expressed in accordance with the Forest Rights Act during Gram Sabhas, which have three times (March, 2008; February, 2010 & October 2012) reiterated the local communities’ demand that the project not proceed.

UN Global Compact

The United Nations Global Compact also calls on companies to respect international human rights standards and avoid complicity in human rights abuses. In May 2012, POSCO CEO, Mr. Joon-Yang Chung, wrote a letter to UN Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon. He stated that ‘POSCO supports the ten principles of the Global Compact with respect to human rights’ and ‘with this communication, we express our intent to advance those principles within our sphere of influence’. Evidence from the area impacted by POSCO’s project in Odisha makes a mockery of this promise.

POSCO should honor this commitment to United Nations Guidelines and uphold human rights in general and withdraw its Odisha project in particular as it undermines human rights of local people, the right to democratic dissent and their natural rights to pursue livelihood options of their choice. No project should be imposed on an unwilling population by conniving with coercive state machinery.

Chandranath Dani, Human Rights Advocate

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Update from POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti as on 24th March 2013

Dear Friends,

From 22nd March 2013 onwards, more than 200 women of Govindpur village are continuing daily peaceful protest and shouted slogans opposing undemocratic moves of the government and POSCO in the village of Gobindpur in Jagatsinghpur district of Odisha.

We are apprehending a police crackdown after the end of the budget session in the Odisha assembly on 6th of April 2013. Mean while, our villagers re-erected bamboo and wooden barricades at Gobindpur, Patana, Dhinkia and Trilochanpur villages under Jagatsinghpur’s Dhinkia gram panchayat to prevent officials and police from entering the proposed Posco plant site. Addressing the villagers, our women leader Ms Manorama Khatua said that now we can go to any extent to ensure stopping of the project on our fertile land. She said that the women would henceforth guard the entry gate to Dhinkia area with their male counterparts to ensure no more demolition of betel vines takes place. She also said that our people are hell bent on opposing any move of the authorities to enter Gobindpur.

As you know that the presence of policemen was a cause of tension for women and girls at Gobindpur village. The state government has resorted to unethical tactics of jailing and lathicharging the protesters regularly. As women and children are at the forefront of the movement, regular lathicharge on women and children by paramilitary has become a norm. Over last 2 months though the administration declared that land acquisition would not happen ‘by coercion’, this region has just become a site littered with paramilitary camps with more than 12 paramilitary platoons. The constant presence of paramilitary in the area right inside the villages is worrisome and unacceptable in a democratic polity. A large number of people suffering from ailments are unable to visit doctors and nearest markets. Particularly the suffering of women with gynecological problems is deeply disturbing.

Hence we are demanding immediate withdrawal of policemen from Govindpur Village. To restore faith of its citizenry in Dhinkia & Govindpur villages and beyond, the state government must admit its excesses in the area.

We have also decided to launch hunger-strike from April 3, 2013 if it was not done. We call upon all political parties, social activists, intellectuals, and public concerned citizens, leaders to participate in the proposed hunger-strike.

Please find below the statements from different public-concerned citizens to the Chief minister of Odisha. We convey our gratitude for their support.

Kindly forward this mail widely.

Hoping for solidarity,

Prashant Paikary
Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti
Mobile no-09437571547
E-Mail – prashantpaikary@gmail.com

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Update from POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti as on 10th March 2013

When the world was preparing to celebrates Women’s day, the village women of Govindpur, Dhinkia, Patanahat got brutally beaten up by police and goons close to armed police camp in Govindapur as they had gone there to demand withdrawal of police camp from the area and to allow them to live in peace on March 7 as continuous deployment of five platoons of police at Govindpur village has made life miserable for everybody. Police presence is also a major reason why bombing has taken place and we have lost 3 important lives. The presence of police is only encouraging the criminal elements to unleash a region of terror which was also experienced by the fact finding team on March 9, 2013.

Perhaps it does not require any emphasis that women are the worst hit in today’s situation. Our  women don’t at all feel safe and the administration is fully aware of this fact. Despite that they are not doing anything which prompts us to say that they might be behind all these acts of violence. Everything could have come out in open by independent fact finding teams but now even such teams are attacked.

One can understand what might have happened to our women protesters on March 7. Around 2.30 p.m. on 7th March 2013, hundreds of men and women of PPSS came in procession and staged a peaceful demonstration near the Mangalapada police camp at the entry point of Gobindpur village demanding withdrawal of armed police from their locality. The police fired teargas shells and made a lathi-charge on the peaceful protestors as a result more than 40 persons have sustained injury. Women activists were cornered and beaten up by plain-clothed policewomen. Bilochan Khatua, Sulochana barik, Solia mallick, Sati Barik, Nayana Dash, Tulashi Dash, Basanti Mandal, Satya Mallick, Pravati Swain, Taaopi Samal , Lopa Samal and many more of Govindpur village were injured.

Women claimed that their eyes burned when the police fired teargas shells. This shows the government’s double standards. On one hand, the government is claiming that it was acquiring land peacefully while on the other hand it is using police force which is contradictory.

Meanwhile the South Korea’s Ambassador Kim Joong Keun visited Odisha on 6th march 2013. When people in the proposed POSCO project site are mourning the killing of 3 activists of the movement who were killed in a bomb attack on March 2, the Ambassador did not say anything to express his grief. He was obsessed with the progress of POSCO project.

We also condemn in strongest terms POSCO’s attempt to take Odisha scribes for pleasure trip to outside. We also appeal friends from media please not to fall in the trap as people will lose complete faith in them.

Meanwhile , the CPI (ML) leader K N Ramachandran and Sarmistha Choudhury, who attended an anti-Posco meeting have announced a ’Jana Sansad’ at Jantarmantar in New Delhi on March 15 to protest ‘forcible’ land acquisition for POSCO.

Different social action groups organized a protest meeting over the killing of Anti-POSCO Protesters and Forcible Acquisition of Land in Odisha, at Odisha Bhawan, 1 Niti Marg, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi, on 9th March (Saturday), 2013.

I am attaching herewith the statement of various social action groups on the murder of PPSS leader, Complaint to NHRC by Center for Legal Awareness and Human Rights (CLAR)  and the  latest interview of our activist Mr. Debendra Swain prepared by Video Volunteers.

We express our gratitude to all our friends for their support and circulating their statements.

We call on all democratic and progressive organizations and individuals to condemn the blatant use of brute force through police as well as goons to brutally crush our democratic movement.

Kindly forward this mail widely.

Hoping for solidarity,

Prashant Paikary
Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti
Mobile no-09437571547
E-Mail – prashantpaikary@gmail.com

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Update from POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti as on 6th March 2013

Dear Friends,

When we are writing this update, demolition of betel vines and destruction of forest by armed police force for POSCO is continuing with total disregard to the state of shock and sadness prevailing in our villages following the killing of 3 front ranking activists of our anti-POSCO agitation. The Odisha government has got scant regard for democracy, dissent and public opinion across the globe. We are lucky that our leader Abhya Sahu escaped the bomb attack and saved his life though we were not so lucky to save the lives of Manas Jena, Nabin Mondal (brother of Dula Mondal the last martyr of the agitation) and Narahari Sahu. The fourth victim Mr. Laxman Paramanik is still battling for his life. The pro-posco goons could do this barbaric act and escape because it was dark and the police probably helped them to escape as they were present on all sides of exit gates. Despite our request immediately after the incident, the police did not come and did not send the ambulance which could have saved at least two lives.

The police reached the spot 15 hours after the bombing took place, though their camp is located 2 minutes away from the place and though they were patrolling day and night on all sides. But without reaching the spot and investigating the facts, the SP and district administration based at Jagatsinghpur i.e. more than 30 kms away from the place were seen to be active in calling the media immediately after bombing in which deliberate attempts were made to mislead the public about the incidence. They were initially successful too.

The area has already become an open house prison for us. Our people can’t go out to nearest market for buying things and to the hospital for availing medical treatment. The police have now clamped prohibitory orders under section 144 of CrPC (Code of Criminal Procedure-1973) banning public gatherings at Patana Haat village. The police refused to accept the FIR on the killing by bombing filed by the family members of the dead victims but could accept a FIR against the victims and survivors like Abhay Sahu and Sura Das (behind whose house the bombs exploded) on false charges of conspiracy at Abhayachandrapur police station.

We strongly feel that the Chief Minister Nabin Pattnaik has given a clear go ahead signal and his Chief Secretary Bijoy Pattnaik is personally monitoring the repression in the area.  This is the reason why protests from the area and outside are consciously ignored. Our people didn’t bother about prohibitory orders on 5th March 2013 and more than 3000 villagers including women, children, leaders of political parties, social movements, concerned citizens gathered in a public meeting at Dhinkia in protest of the deaths and forceful land acquisition at Govindpur. Our villagers took out a rally carrying the three martyrs and while cremating them called for immediate halt to land acquisition for the POSCO steel plant. The rally was attended by CPI, CPM, Samajwadi party,RJD, Forward Block, Congress, Aam Admi Party, RPI, CPI-ML (Ram Chandra Group), CPI-ML (Kahnu Sahnyal Group), Jan Badi Lekhaka Sangh, All India Revolutionary Womens Organisation, HAL Bistapita Andolan,  Basti Surakshya Mancha. etc. Attaching herewith the photographs for your information.

Today (6th March 2013) in an unprecedented manner our villagers took a resolve not to allow further demolition of betel vines and forcible land acquisition from 7th March 2013. Men, women and children unanimously took a pledge to go to the sites where armed police make attempt to destroy the bread and butter belts of the village and oppose their brute force at any cost. Since no dissent and democratic opposition is having any impact and the state is ignoring all forces, our people have taken a resolve to very firmly and quite peacefully continue the protest. If our protest fails, the women have decided to take over and run the protest keeping the situation in mind. We urge upon all concerned citizens, friends and co-fighters to please come and be with us in such a difficult time where the governments of the day have been completely sold out to a private company and their hired goons which necessarily include the police and administration.

I am sharing with you the statements of solidarity and support given to us by different groups with thanks and gratitude to them.

Awaiting your continuous support and solidarity. Kindly forward this mail widely.

Hoping for solidarity,

Prashant Paikary
Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti
Mobile no-09437571547
E-Mail – prashantpaikary@gmail.com

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Update from POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti as on 2nd March 2013

Dear Friends,

Today i.e on March, 2nd 2013 , the government of Odisha has sent around six platoons of police at Badagabapur (near POSCO transit camp). It’s highly possible that they repeat a forceful police operation tomorrow. Our villagers are in high alert to face any forceful land acquisition for POSCO steel plant.

As you know that the state assembly session is in interegnum from February 25- March 7, the Odisha government has begun preparations to resume forceful land acquisition in our village.

The government was forced to stop land takeover activities at Gobindapur village in the proposed project site in the first week of February owing to stiff opposition from the villagers and concerned people across the globe.

The Odisha government is going ahead with the forceful land acquisition process for the steel plant despite the fact that Posco does not have an environmental clearance for the project. The environmental clearance given by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) on January 31, 2011 was suspended by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on March 30, 2012. Posco does not even have a memorandum of understanding with the state government now. The one it had signed on July 22, 2005 lapsed on July 21, 2010 and no fresh MoU has been signed so far. So what is the basis on which the state is acquiring land for the project?

Even, the palli sabha meeting of Govindpur, and the gram sabha meeting of Dhinkia panchayat on 18 October, 2012, more than 2000 residents unanimously voted against diversion of land for Posco’s project under provisions of the Forest Rights Act 2006. The ongoing land acquisition is a blatant violation of the Forest Rights Act as the rights over forest lands in our area are not being recognized and vested and consent of the Palli Sabhas has not been obtained by the State government.

Requesting all of you to circulate this message to our media friends and start calling the authorities to stop the forthcoming police operation at Govindpur village .

UPDATE: Today i.e. on 2rd March 2013, at around 6 .30 PM, the POSCO company and state-sponsored goons threw bombs on our villagers at Patna village, Dhinkia , Jagatsinghpur.  As a result, Manas Jena – Age 32 died on the spot. The rest two Nabanu Mandal – 35 and Narahari Sahoo – 52 were died after half an hour waiting for ambulance.  Mr. Laxman Paramanik  is critically injured. We have informed the police for ambulance once the incident happened. But the police didn’t respond.

We strongly condemn this barbaric and inhuman killing of innocent villagers and strongly demand to arrest the culprit immediately.

Kindly circulate this mail widely.

Hoping for solidarity,

Prashant Paikary
Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti
Mobile no-09437571547
E-Mail – prashantpaikary@gmail.com

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Appeal for a United Struggle

There is no regard for democracy in corporate raj — the Odisha Government is proving it again and again by ignoring and repressing the popular resentment in our area against forcible land acquisition for POSCO. The government is also behaving as if it does not care at all even if people across the globe appeal [to] it for maintaining calm and restraint. Despite that our people’s resolve to fight and drive out POSCO remains totally unaffected. We are continuing daily peaceful demonstration at Patnahat village against the patrolling of at least two platoons (about 60 personnel) of armed police in the Govindpur villages. It is needless to say that government is not willing to part with its terror tactics. Democracy is at stake.

Now we need a united struggle to tell the state in clear terms that what they are doing for corporations like POSCO is not acceptable in a democracy. We call for a nationwide movement in support of the villagers’ struggle against the integrated steel plant to be set up by POSCO in our land. We are fighting with the government of Odisha, tooth and nail, for the past eight years. We appeal to all the major political parties, intellectuals, people’s movement and individual groups across the country to join us. Unless and until there is a united fight, the governments in the state and at the centre would continue their ‘anti-people’ policies and ‘oppression’ in the name of development.

Undertaking forceful land acquisition process for POSCO is aimed at negating the forthcoming amendment of [the] 1894 Land Acquisition Act. The government is in a hurry to complete land acquisition before the Bill is passed. Once the new policy comes into effect, it will become more difficult for the government to implement the project as it is being opposed by all our villagers.

On 15th February 2013, PPSS organized a protest demonstration at Bhubaneswar, the state capital of Odisha. The representatives of different political parties like Congress, BJP, CPI, CPI(M), Forward Block, RJD, Samajwadi Party, CPIML, CPIML (Liberation), SUCI (Communist), CPIML (New Democracy), Aam Admi Party and different human rights organizations like PUCL, NFFPFW and Janabadi Writers Organization joined hands to oppose the project. In a unified voice, they said that the state government has no right to acquire land forcibly. Whatever was done at Gobindpur village is undemocratic, illegal and above all criminal in nature.

I am attaching herewith a fact finding report on the human rights situation prepared by Delhi Foum and Alternative Law Forum, Bangalore for your information. We are also attaching herewith the video link of 3rd February 2013 incident prepared by Madhyantara for your information. Here the land acquisition officer is beating mercilessly the villagers and children.

Kindly forward this mail widely.

Hoping for solidarity,

Prashant Paikary
Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti
Mobile no-09437571547
E-Mail – prashantpaikary@gmail.com

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PPSS leader Mr. Abhaya Sahoo ends his fast

Dear Friends,

Yesterday, i.e. on 10th February 2013, Mr. Abhaya Sahoo, the chairperson of PPSS was persuaded by the villagers and visiting activists from across the state and outside to call off his six-day hunger strike as the state government suspended temporarily the forcible land acquisition process owing to the resistance on one hand and the support and solidarity the movement received from across the globe. The PPSS wishes to thank all those who expressed their support and solidarity with the movement. Though it is difficult to predict the next move of the government but they might not resort to forcible land acquisition now since the state assembly’s budget session is about to start soon.

As you are aware,  Mr.  Abhaya Sahoo,  had to launch  an indefinite hunger strike since 5 February 2013 in protest against the illegal land acquisition by the government. He demanded immediate withdrawal of police forces from Gobindpur village.  Due to the heavy protest from the villagers, the government has been compelled to stalled land acquisition work.  Needless to say the withdrawal of police from Gobindpur is our moral victory.  Although a majority of the armed police personnel had been withdrawn from the site outside Gobindpur where land was being acquired for POSCO by the State government by demolishing betel vineyards, two platoons of police are still camping in the village.

We have decided to continue our mass peaceful demonstration at Govindpur till the police completely withdraws from Gobindpur village.  Today, prominent social activist Dr. B.D. Sharma is joining with our villagers at Gobindpur village.

Officials of POSCO and district administration launch together:

In the media, POSCO –India is repeatedly saying that it has no role in the forceful land acquisition. We are attaching herewith a photo where the POSCO India official at Paradip Mr. S.N. Singh, General manager Construction, (in red shirt, second from right) was having lunch with the district collector S K Mallick (Second from left in sky blue shirt) and Superintendent of Police (Extreme left in Khaki).  The POSCO-India is providing all such logistical support at the site to drive out the people.   If the district administration will work as the agent of POSCO, how the common villagers will have trust on the administration to get justice. We would request friends not to trust POSCO India press notes as they are sharing blatant lies. They have been instrumental in unleashing a terror in the area by engaging paid agents and goons. At the same time they are trying to portray a very good image about themselves with the friendly elements in media.

Bonhomie beteween POSCO and Dist officials

You may also know that the recent fraud committed by POSCO-India. The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has slapped a penalty of close to Rs.10 crore on one of its associate companies in India, POSCO India Delhi Processing Centre (IDPC), for alleged tax evasion.  The customs department has also ordered the confiscation of goods worth about Rs. 200 crore imported by the company.

We would request you to please keep a watch on POSCO and to please remain in touch with us –the victims and potential victims of POSCO’s invasion.

Kindly circulate this mail widely.

Hoping for solidarity,

Prashant Paikary
Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti
Mobile no-09437571547
E-Mail – prashantpaikary@gmail.com

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PPSS leader Abhay Sahu’s fast entered the fourth day: Call to Join the peaceful struggle at Govindpur, Jagatsinghpur, Odisha

Dear Friends,

As you may be aware our leader Mr. Abhaya Sahoo had to take the extreme step of sitting on hunger strike till the time withdrawal of armed police force from our area is completed. His fast has been going on at Patna Hat village since the morning of 5th February 2013 though he is not in good health.

While thanking you all for the support and solidarity you have been extending to the movement which certainly keeps our hope alive even when forcible displacement and despair knocks at our door, we do also appeal you on behalf our agitating villagers to please come and join us physically at the site of the Dharana in Govindapur and Patana Hat. You may be a leader/activist of a political party or a social movement or a progressive intellectual, a media person, does [not] matter where you belong to – please come and join us in the peaceful demonstration at Govindpur against the government’s coercive action to forcibly dislodge us from our land and livelihoods.

We have already informed you about the happenings on 3rd February dawn when police force forcefully entered Govindapur village and blocked the area from all sides and started beating our villagers mercilessly. Our women are complaining about torture and sexual atrocities in the hands of the police. [The police] did also pull down trees and betel vines, the major sources of our livelihood.

On 6th of February 2013, the district administration of Odisha was forced to halt the operation at around noon when hundreds of women and children formed a human barricade and told the police : ‘Kill us first before you proceed further,”.

A large number of activists from CPI, CPM, CPI ML, Liberation, Forward Bloc, Samajwadi Party, RJD and members from different social movements also participated in the demonstration. The supporters and activists of opposition Congress and BJP also joined the gherao agitation lead by Com Raja. It seems that the government would resume land acquisition work today.

Social activist Swami Agnivesh was scheduled to visit Gobindpur village today to express solidarity with our villagers.

We don’t understand the Odisha government’s determination to go ahead with the forceful land acquisition process for the steel plant despite the fact that Posco does not have an environmental clearance for the project. The environmental clearance given by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) on January 31, 2011 was suspended by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on March 30 of 2012.

Posco does not even have a memorandum of understanding with the state government now. The one it had signed on July 22, 2005 lapsed on July 21, 2010 and no fresh MoU has been signed so far. So what is the basis on which the state is acquiring land for the project?

Even the palli sabha meeting of Govindpur, and the gram sabha meeting of Dhinkia panchayat on 18 October, 2012, more than 2000 residents unanimously voted against diversion of land for Posco’s project under provisions of the Forest Rights Act 2006. The ongoing land acquisition is a blatant violation of the Forest Rights Act as the rights over forest lands in our area are not being recognized and vested and consent of the Palli Sabhas has not been obtained by the State government.

There is a clear indication that the government is acting at the behest of  and for the benefit of the private company and is in a hurry to begin work even when the new land acquisition bill is being considered by the Parliament, which mandates consent of nearly 70% people in a village before acquiring their land for any project. The project is also facing court cases relating to allotment of iron ore mines and water as well.

We have been questioning the project’s potential to generate jobs for the people and the net benefit the country will get after sacrificing land, water and doling out concessions to the foreign company. The government is completely silent on its part to discuss the issues involving the project.

At this juncture, once again, we earnestly appeal you to join us and express your solidarity with villagers of Govindpur.

Attaching herewith the photographs for your information.

Kindly circulate this mail widely.

Hoping for solidarity,

Prashant Paikary
Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti
Mobile no-09437571547
E-Mail – prashantpaikary@gmail.com

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Update from POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) as on February 5, 2013

Dear Friends,

Thanks for your support and solidarity with PPSS. Any single step taken anywhere in the world in extending support to us does inspire us to continue our just and peaceful struggle against a mighty company and its henchmen in our government. Yet, the forcible land acquisition continues despite protests and solidarity expressed with us-just for a foreign company.

Today i.e. on 5th February 2013, our villagers resisted when 12 platoons of police (around 400 police personnel) made a flag march along with the officials of POSCO-India, state revenue department and Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (IDCO) to acquire a patch of 700 acres of land of Gobindpur village. During the resistance, some of the school children have been injured. These children while staging a rally demanding the removal of police force from the area came face to face with the police force which was on a flag-march. Due to the heavy presence of police force, tension prevailed in the area. The POSCO-India officials are busy in providing food and other logistical support to the Police and other officials.

The Jagatsinghpur district collector Satya Kumar Mallick repeatedly said in the media that “the land acquisition process in Gobindpur was going on peacefully with the consent of villagers and we have deployed police force to protect the villagers from the threat of PPSS”. This is false and misleading. Actually 80 per cent of the people were against handing over their land. If the people are giving their land voluntarily, then why the police is entered in wee hours of Sunday which was a holiday and started beating the villagers in which 18 villagers were injured. Four of the injured including three women were seriously hurt. The way the administration acquired the land without the consent of the villagers is undemocratic and uncalled for. We are attaching herewith the video link. One Sangram Mohapatra, the land officer with the state-run Orissa Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (IDCO), was seen mercilessly beating a protestor with a stick. The footage also showed the officer dressed casually in a red sweater over a white shirt moving from one place to another and dragging some children across the protest site. He has no police or magistrate power.

On 2nd February, the administration crushed millions of betel leaves as the vineyards came crashing down under tractors. The crushing of beetle leaves is continuing with the presence of heavy police force in the Govindpur village.

On 3rd February, The leaders of six political parties-Congress, Samajwadi Party, RJD, CPI, CPM and Forward Block joined with the villagers at Gobindpur and severely criticized the administration for “forcible” acquisition of land for the Posco project.

You may know that on 30th March 2012, the national Green Tribunal (NGT) suspended the environmental clearance of POSCO. However the district officials are demolishing beetle-vines and tree felling exercise at Mathsahi locality of Gobindapur in the presence of Jagatsinghpur district Collector S K Mallick, Superintendent of Police Satyabrata Bhoi and other officials. This is clearly undemocratic and illegal to make this attempt when the matter is sub-judice.

The chairperson of PPSS, Mr. Abhay Sahu is on an indefinite hunger strike at Patna Hat since this morning with demanding immediate withdrawal of police force from the village. He will not break the fast until police forces are withdrawn from the area.

At this juncture, we earnestly request the concerned citizens, progressive intellectuals, social movements, to join us at Govindpur village and save the villagers from clutches of a cruel, tyrannical, profit-minded pro-corporate state power. If this struggle is crushed so badly we doubt if there will be another struggle anywhere which will be able to drive out such monsters from any part of our country.

Kindly circulate this mail widely.

Hoping for solidarity,

Prashant Paikary
Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti
Mobile no-09437571547
E-Mail – prashantpaikary@gmail.com

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Police enters our village, beat women and children, arrested villagers and cut trees

Dear Friends,

In the wee hours today (at around 4 am) the police has entered into our villages and beaten up women and children, arrested some of our villagers (number is yet to be known).

As we have intimated you earlier that the police force has been gradually swelling in our area amidst our continuing human chain and Dharana in the Balitikira-the boarder of Govindpur and Dhinkia villages of Jagatsingpur district, the police has deceptively entered to the villages with full force at 4 a.m. today. Our people sensed their possible move at around 2 o clock night and alerted the villagers by ringing bells. Gradually women, children, male members started getting accumulated at the Dharana place. At 4 a.m. the police entered and attacked the women and children first. The male police have ruthlessly beaten our women who were lying on a human chain. Some women have been severely inured. The Police have thrown our children like flowers, some of whom are injured. Some villagers have been arrested by the police and been taken to custody. At the moment we do not have exact numbers as the situation is too tensed on the spot. The police have started breaking our betel vines and cutting the trees forcefully. More and more numbers of our villagers have come to the spot and a war like situation has arisen. Our committed villagers are facing a mighty 12 platoons of police force.

We fail to understand the decision of the state to acquire land when the National Green Tribunal has already suspended the environment clearance to the proposed POSCO project in our area. Naveen Patnaik is behaving like an agent of the POSCO company.

As the situation is too alarming, we appeal all our friends to protest against the barbarism and call/write/fax to the Prime Minister, Chief Minister of Odisha and Chief Secretary of Odisha, Home Minsitry, Odisha appealing to immediately stop the police brutality and withdrawal of the force from our area. Please call to your respective MPs and MLAs and raise your protest against them urging them to oppose the illegal move. Write to NHRC also.

We request our media friends to rush to our villages and see the situation in their own eyes and report. We will intimate further developments soon.

Please widely circulate this mail.

In Solidarity,
Prashant Paikary
Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti
Mobile no-09437571547
E-Mail – prashantpaikary@gmail.com

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Update from POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) as on January 31 2013

Dear Friends,

During when our peaceful human chain and Dharana is continuing in the Batabelari- Dhinkia and Govindpur boarder, there is information that the state government is planning enhance its police force from the existing ten platoons to fifteen platoons in our area. There is all likelihood that the police may forcefully enter to our villages with this enhanced force. However our resolution is quite strong to peacefully deflect any possible mis-adventure of the government. On regular basis, political leaders are visiting our Dharana place and expressing solidarity with us. Tomorrow eminent journalist Rabi Das and former finance minister Panchanan Kanungo will visit to our village. Our human chain is continuing since 14th January 2013.

In the mean time it has been reported in NDTV that the due to tax evasion by one of the associates of POSCO company-POSCO India Delhi processing Centre (IDPC), the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has slapped a penalty of close to rupees 10 crores. The customs department has also ordered the confiscation of good worth rupees 200 crore imported by the company. Could such company be trusted to do business in India?

We expect all support from friends to our peaceful movement.

Kindly circulate this mail widely.

In Solidarity,
Prashant Paikary
Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti
Mobile no-09437571547
E-Mail – prashantpaikary@gmail.com

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Update from POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) as on January 22 2013

Dear Friends,

As you know the police have made its presence heavy in our area and regularly conducting regular flag to intimidate us.

Despite provocation, for the past nine days, our villagers are continuing the peaceful protest against theforceful acquisition of our land for Proposed steel plant by POSCO at Balitikra along Govindapur- Nuagaon border and the protest will continue for the indefinite period till the Government and POSCO management withdraw themselves from our area. The villagers including children and women are keeping a round-the-clock vigil at the entry points to the village to stop the Government and Posco officials to come to the site villages.

As you know the Odisha government is making an unlawful and illigal move to acquire our land without taking the consent of our villager into consideration and avoiding the unanimous resolution passed in recently held Gram Sabha against diversion of forest land for Posco project. Recenlty our chairperson of PPSS, Mr. Abhya Sahoo said that the Jagatsinghpur District Collector was misleading the people of the State that 80 per cent of the villagers of Govindapur wanted the establishment of the Posco plant. Sahoo dared the district Collector to prove it. “I would withdraw the anti Posco agitation, if the District Collector can prove that 80 per cent of the villagers support Posco,” he said.

Further the mines issue is sub-judice, environmental clearance is under suspension and there is no Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) . The state government has been unleashing savage repression and violence on our democratic movement. This is a clear illegal attempt of POSCO to acquire land for the project by bribing the State Government, the district administration and the local politicians.

In a resolution adopted at its national executive meeting held at Bhubaneswar, state capital of Odisha, the Communist Party of India ( CPI) asked the state government to withdraw the project from the area and resolved to oppose any industrialisation through repression and at the cost of vibrant agricultural economy. CPI national council secretary and MP Gurdas Dasgupta told .”We are opposed to farmers’ land to be invaded by multi-national companies,”

In this juncture, we strongly demand the state government to refrain from any anti-people and violent actions, withdraw the Posco project from our area and allow us to decide our fate.

Attaching herewith the an article written by Anant Mariganti, Biju Mathew and Sirisa Naidu published in Economic Political weekly (EPW) that exposes the faulty NCAER report to justify POSCO’s cost-benefit analysis.

Requesting you to sign the e-petition and circulate.

Kindly circulate this mail widely.

In Solidarity,
Prashant Paikary
Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti
Mobile no-09437571547
E-Mail – prashantpaikary@gmail.com

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Update from POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) as on January 17 2013

Dear Friends,

From 14th January 2013 onwards, over 3,000 school going children, college students and women joined a sit-in at Balitikira of Gobindpur gram panchayat as the government prepared to resume land acquisition in the proposed plant site for POSCO. People participated in a rally and a mass dharna which was addressed by different political leaders. The dharna formally began with the announcement by Probodh Panda CPI, MP from West Bengal. These villagers will continue their protest until the administration withdraws it plans for unlawful land acquisition.

The government for ‘mysterious reasons’ had been desperately trying to acquire our lands and throw the villagers out of the place before February when the Central government is due to brings the new land acquisition Bill in Parliament. “The new Bill mandates consent of at least 80 per cent people of a village before acquisition of their lands. At present, the state government has violated all laws and gone ahead to dispossess us of our sources of livelihood, which we have been opposing.

At this juncture, we are making a call to all the leaders cutting across party lines, intellectuals, public spirited citizens to visit our area and express the solidarity with our struggling people.

Request you to sign on the e-petition.

Kindly circulate this mail widely.

In Solidarity,
Prashant Paikary
Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti
Mobile no-09437571547
E-Mail – prashantpaikary@gmail.com

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Update from POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) as on January 11 2013

Dear Friends,

In the mid-night of 9th January, the police filled in two vehicles  entered into the Dhinkia Village secretly in order to arrest Mr. Babaji  Charan Samantary aged about 65 years, of Dhinkia village in false cases. However, once our villagers became aware about it, they readied for defense. The vehicles went away.

Mr. Samantary who worked as postmaster in Dhinkia for 28 years, was suspended on 14/12/2007 on the ground that he was  not willing to give his land for the proposed POSCO project.  Despite of the suspension , Mr. Samantary  voluntarily continued his work and delivered the post everyday, for about 7 – 8 months. However, around July, 2008, the bag of post was not sent, and since then the basic service delivery like post office has been arbitrarily closed in the Dhinkia village and villagers are not receiving any letter to their area.

From 9th January 2013 evening onwards, the government has deployed 10 platoon of polices near to our villages. We came to know that the government is bringing another 8 platoons of police to deploy today.

Apprehending the police operation at any time, the villagers are united and erected barricades, refusing entry to outsiders to their village.  Both Men and women have kept a strict vigil 24 x 7 and disconnect all the village connecting road to Dhinkia and Govindpur village.

Friends, as you know, the National Green Tribunal have put the project on hold on environmental and forest rights ground project on 30th March 2012. It is completely illegal on part of the state government to announce resumption of the process at the proposed plant site. But since elections are approaching both the Congress in the centre and BJD in Odisha are trying their best to mobilize election funds which will be held at 2014.

At this juncture, we earnestly appeal to all our friends to express the solidarity with our villagers and request our media friends to rush and cover the government’s illegal activities from the ground zero.

Kindly circulate this mail widely.

In Solidarity,
Prashant Paikary
Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti
Mobile no-09437571547
E-Mail – prashantpaikary@gmail.com

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Update from POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) as on 4th January 2013

Dear Friends,

We strongly condemn the recent declaration of the District Collector, Jagatsinghpur, Odisha to acquire 700 acres of land for the establishment of the POSCO’S integrated steel plant .  You may remember that the forceful attempt by the state administration was halted at the proposed plant site area since December 14, 2011 following the killing of a man over construction of coastal road to connect to our village Dhinkia.

On 28th December 2012, speaking to the media, the Jagatsinghpur district collector SK Mallick said that . “The state government has decided to start activities from tomorrow. We have already taken the consent of local residents for starting the work,”

The statement of the district collector is totally false and mis-leading. We would like to appeal the district collector to show the evidence in support of the local people’s consent.  Rather,  on 18.10.2012, the Gram Sabha of of  Dhinkia Panchayat passed resolution reiterating their demand to stop proposed diversion of forest land without recognition of forest rights and without obtaining the informed consent of the Gram Sabhas of the concerned villages which is a statutory requirement under Forest Rights Act. In this regard, the Ministry of Environment & Forests in the guidelines issued in July 2009 and the Ministry of Tribal Affairs in the guidelines issued recently in 12th July 2012. Further the Minister of Tribal Affairs in his letters of November 19th and December 7th, 2012, to the Minister for Environment and Forests, has stated that no forest land can be diverted without the full implementation of the Forest Rights Act and the consent of the affected Gram Sabhas.

The Gram Sabha has further informed the state government that any diversion of forest land for the proposed project without complying to the provisions under Forest Rights Act would be a violation of the law and statutory rights of the local communities.

Since National Green Tribunal has suspended the environmental clearance granted to the project on 30th March 2012, it is illegal on part of the state government to announce resumption of the process at the proposed plant site .The environmental clearances granted for the proposed private port and the proposed POSCO steel plant have already expired on May 15th, 2012 and July 19th, 2012 respectively.  Hence any further action will be tantamount to be violation of  the provisions of the Environment Impact Assessment Notification, 2006.  Further, there is no renewal of the memorandum of understanding with the company which has expired in June 2010.

It is a matter of great concern that ignoring the above glaring illegalities involved in the project the State government is deliberately subverting laws of the land, rights of the affected communities and decisions of the Gram Sabha and is encouraging illegal takeover of land in favour of POSCO.

On the other hand taking advantage of the undue favour shown by the State government and in active collusion with the state POSCO has offered the so called Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) package of Rs 2000 million for peripheral development with the clear intention to woo and divide the people and to weaken the people’s movement. This is how an unholy empire of criminals, crooks and wrong doers is building with the full complicity of the administration.

Against this impending threat of forcebly land acquisition, we are planning to hold a mass demonstration at Balitikiri ( Govindpur Village boarder)  on 6th of January 2013 ( Sunday). Police has already lodged 230  false cases against our people and put our four villagers viz. Bibhuna Mahapatra, Alok Swain of Dhinkia village and Achyut das, Nivaran Das of Patna village  in the jail. Democracy and our right to dissent and protest are being brutally assaulted by the so called democratic government of the state. Despite of all kinds of false propaganda, intimidation, false cases and threats of forcible eviction has not demoralized our people and they are doubly determined to take the struggle to its logical end that is till POSCO is driven out of the soil.

At this juncture, we are expecting you to also help us by contributing in any possible way according to your capacity. As your support shall be the strength of the people.

We request you to come with your own ideas of protest. You can also lodge your protest by writing the following authorities by  keeping the following demands.

  1. Immediate withdraw of the recent declarations to acquire our land in violation of law.
  2. The Gram Sabha resolution be respected and the Forest Rights Act be implemented in letter and spirit in the affected area.
  3. The State government must stop diversion of forest land for the proposed project in violation of Forest Rights Act 2006.

Kindly circulate this mail widely.

In Solidarity,
Prashant Paikary
Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti
Mobile no-09437571547
E-Mail – prashantpaikary@gmail.com

You can write to the following people:

1. Naveen Patnaik
Chief Minister,  Odisha
Phone (Office): 011 91 674 2531100,011 91 674 2535100,
011 91 674 2531500, Epbax 2163
Phone (Residence): 011 91 674 2590299, 011 91 674 2591099,
011 91 674 2590844, 011 91 674 2591100,
Fax No: (91)6742535100
E Mail: cmo@ori.nic.in

2.  Murali Chandrakanta Bhanadare,
Governor of Odisha
Fax: (91)6742536582

3. Shri B K Patnaik, Chief Secretary,
Phone: 0674 – 2536700, 0674 – 2534300, 0674 – 2322196
Fax: 0674 – 2536660
E-mail: csori@ori.nic.

4. S.K. Mallick , District  Collector, Jagatsinghpur,
Phone: 09437038401,
Fax: (91)6724220299

5. Superintendent of Police, Debadutta Singh.
Phone: 09437094678,
Email: dmjsp@ori.nic.in

6. Dr Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India
Phone: +9111-23016857
Email: manmohan@sansad.in

7. Sonia Gandhi:
Phone: (91)11-23014161, (91)11-23012656,
Fax: (91)112301865,
Email: soniagandhi@sansad.nic.in,

8. Chairperson, National Human Rights Commission of India,
Faridkot House, Copernicus Marg,
New Delhi 110 001,
Phone: +91 11 230 74448,
Fax: +91 11 2334 0016,
Email: chairnhrc@nic.in

9. Shri. V.Kishore Chandra Deo
Minister of Tribal Affairs
Room No. 400  ‘B’ Wing, Shastri Bhawan,
New Delhi- 110001
vk.deo@sansad.nic.in

10. Smt. Jayanthi Natarajan
Ministry of Environment & Forests
Paryavaran Bhawan,
CGO Complex, Lodhi Road
New Delhi-110003
mosefgoi@nic.in

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Update from POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) as on 7th December 2012

Dear Friends,

We had to confront with yet another pre-planned strategy of POSCO and its sponsored goons who were determined to threaten and humiliate our innocent villagers and almost forced us to give up our struggle against the forceful land acquisition by POSCO. On 5th December 2012, few POSCO sponsored goons and villagers started to ring the bell to convene a village meeting in order to force us to extend our cooperation to start the land acquisition process. When our villagers opposed this undemocratic and uncalled for move, the sponsored goons started beating our people. Not surprisingly, the police have filed 12 more fabricated false cases against our people.

Out of desperation POSCO is following a divide and rule strategy in  Gobindpur village. The Posco officials are trying to allure and divide our people by bribing the goons for acquiring the forest land adjacent to Gobindpur. However, our people are strongly determined to fight back and would not make it success at all.

As you know, in the course of our peaceful and democratic non-violent struggle to prevent our lands from being forcibly acquired by POSCO, our people have been brutally attacked by paid goons of the company and subjected to grueling economic blockades by the local administration. Several of our leaders have been put behind bars. False charges have been foisted on over 200 activists, both men and women.

On November 29, 2012, more than 3000 people had observed anti-violence day at Dhinkia village. You may remember that on November 29th of 2007, the state government has unleashed series of brutal repression against our people. Again the police has made repression on our people on May 15th 2010. We are attaching herewith the link of a video where the state police is burning the huts, beating and firing at the villagers.

On 30th November 2012, the anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare attended a farmer’s rally at Jagatsinghpur and condemned the state government’s attempts to hand over 4,000 acre of land to the South Korean steel major POSCO. He said that “Instead of a policy to ensure the rights of farmers and make use of our natural resources, the government is busy appeasing and promoting foreign companies,”. He also said that “problems faced by farmers cannot be solved by bringing foreign currency into India. Laws need to be changed for their betterment”.

In a desperate damage controlling mode, POSCO started to distribute the POSCO TJ Park Foundation Scholarship to 10 students of BPUT (Biju Patnaik University of Technology) and KIIT (Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology) University on 27th November 2012. Besides, POSCO distribute fellowships at Delhi University, OUAT, Bhubaneswar and the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi every year. Needless to say that this is an initiative to develop it’s goodwill among the intelligentsia and get sympathy from these institutions.

At this juncture, we strongly urge the students and faculties of the above esteemed institutions to discard this award. We also earnestly request these institutions to compel POSCO to respect the unanimous resolution on Dhinkia gram sabha ( Panchayat level assembly of adult members) i.e. on 18th of October 2012 , where more than 2000 people participated in the meeting and  refused to grant consent to the proposed diversion of land for POSCO under the rights provided to the Gram Sabha under the Forest Rights Act, 2006.

Kindly circulate this mail widely.

In Solidarity,
Prashant Paikary
Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti
Mobile no-09437571547
E-Mail – prashantpaikary@gmail.com

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Dhinkia Gram Sabha Unanimously Resolves NOT to Divert Forest Land for POSCO

Dear Friends,

On 18th of October 2012 , more than 2000 people participated in the Dhinkia Gram Sabha ( Panchayat level assembly of adult members) meeting and passed unanimous resolution stating their refusal to grant consent to the proposed diversion of land for POSCO for its 12million steel plant covering 4004 acres of land under the rights provided to the Gam Sabha under the Forest Rights Act, 2006. It may be recalled here that Gram Sabha happens to be most fundamental unit of decision making in Indias grass root democracy guaranteed by the constitution.

The resolution that was read and resolved contained the following:

The Gram Sabha of Dhinkia panchayat in its meeting on dated 18th October 2012 hereby decides and resolves on the following matters relating to the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 and its implementation the village. This has reference to the letter (No. TD 11 (FRA)-06/2011) issued by the ST & SC Development Department. on 7th September 2012 had instructing Collectors to ensure discussion and planning on the pending claims under the Forest Rights Act and to ensure consolidation of list of claims for further monitoring and disposal.

The villages under this Panchayat have rights over forest lands and have initiated process of claims on rights under Forest Rights Act. Claims on the forest lands approved and recommended by the Palli Sabhas of villages (Dhinkia, Govindpur) are still pending for recognition and no step has been taken to recognize and vest the rights. No information and training on Forest Rights Act have been provided to the villages, forms and necessary records have been supplied by the government to support claim making process, all contrary to its obligations under the Rules. In this regard the Gram Sabha directs the District Level Committee to ensure completion the process for recognition of individual and community rights as per claims submitted by the Forest Rights Committee/Palli Sabha of the concerned villages which are still pending. In this regard Gram Sabha asks the SDLC and DLC to provide the status of claims to the Palli Sabhas and FRCs of the villages.

The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Amendment Rules, 2012 have been notified on 6th September 2012. As required under the amendment rules the Palli Sabha shall initiate the process for claiming community forest resources rights under Section 3 (1)(i) of the Forest Rights Act. In accordance with the amendment rules of the FRA, the Gram Sabha calls upon the District Level Committee to ensure recognition of the community forest resource rights in the villages coming under this Panchayat as required in the amendment Rule 12 (B)(3).

The Gram Sabha calls upon the government and district administration to comply to decisions of the Palli Sabhas with regard to use and management of the community forest resources in accordance with Section 5 of the Forest Rights Act. The gram sabha reiterates the decision of the palli sabhas of Dhinkia and Govindpur to protect forests, biodiversity and all livelihood resources in the boundary of this panchayat.<p?

The Gram Sabha in particular endorses the resolution passed by Palli Sabha of village Dhinkia on 3rd October, 2012 and asks the SDLC and DLC to complete the process of recognition of rights under FRA and to desist from any proposed diversion of forest land as the recognition of rights is not complete and Palli Sabha of the village has not given consent. Any such diversion will be a criminal offence under section 7 of the FRA.

The Gram Sabha takes note of the disruption of the Palli Sabha meeting of village Govidnpur on 4th October, 2012 which was not allowed to pass resolution on the decisions taken on claims under FRA and on the diversion of forest land. Obstruction of the proceeding of the Palli Sabha amounts to obstruction of the process of recognition of rights and violation of the authority of Palli Sabha under Section 6 of FRA. This Gram Sabha considers this as violation of FRA and an offence under Section 7 of FRA and issues notice to the State Level Monitoring Committee to proceed against the DLC and officials involved. Gram Sabha also takes the decision to hold Palli Sabha again in village Govindpur and directs the authorities to provide necessary support.

The Gram Sabha endorse decision taken by the Palli Sabhas to not give consent to the diversion of forest lands under its customary use and boundary for the purpose of the POSCO steel plant project, or for any other purpose, and directs the District Level Committee and the State government to ensure strict compliance with the provisions of the Forest Rights Act, the guideline issued by Ministry of Environment & Forests on 30.07.2009 and the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs on 12th July 2012 in this regard. Diversion of forest land without compliance to the Forest Rights Act and the above mentioned guidelines is a violation of the Forest Rights Act and a criminal offence.

It may be recalled here that, on 3rd October 2012, the villagers of Dhinkia Gram Panchayat organized Palli sabha (Village level Assembly of adult persons) and Passed resolution not to divert the forest land to POSCO. Under the Forest Right Act 2006 , no forest land can be diverted until all the rights of the people in the area are recognised  and their consent of the concerned gram sabha is obtained for the diversion. This is a statutory requirement under FRA, mandated further by a Ministry of Environment Ministrys order of August 3, 2009.

The inhabitants of Govindpur village had organized Palli Sabha on 4th of October and passed a similar resolution stating their refusal to grant consent to the proposed diversion of land for POSCO. However, sponsored goons of the company and the state agencies, created disruption and forcibly took away the resolution paper in a pre-planned startegy. Against this, the PPSS members held  a one day protest at Erasama block office. In the end, villagers of Govindpur received their resolution copies.

Peoples resolution sent a strong message to the Government that people are against illegal diversion of forest land for the project  and gave a befitting reply to the recent declaration of Mr. Yong Won Yoon CMD of POSCO to start the project soon. This resolution has also exposed the government and POSCOs earlier claim that people are in support of the POSCO project.

The POSCO and the state government are repeatedly announcing that there will be no forcible land acquisition. This Gram sabha resolution has given a strong message that majority of people are against the project. Hence they should respect the decision of people and cancel the POSCO project outright.

Kindly circulate this mail widely.

In Solidarity,
Prashant Paikary
Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti
Mobile no-09437571547
E-Mail – prashantpaikary@gmail.com

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PPSS Press Release on POSCO’s Corporate Social Responsibility package

The PPSS condemns in strongest terms the evil design of POSCO and the state government to mislead public opinion by suddenly declaring the so called Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)  package of Rs 2000 million for peripheral development as if the resistance of our people is based on narrow economic interest or opportunism and as if we all have been waiting just to hear a CSR package. Where does the question of peripheral development arise when the project itself is facing serious resistance and thus has become uncertain? They are not yet able to explain to us where they spent Rs 3000 million, the claim they have been making in every possible forum. This is how an unholy empire of criminals, crooks and wrong doers is building with the full complicity of the administration.  There is also an ill motivated campaign going against the people by making false assertion that out of the required 4000 acres of land the company has already got 2000 acres. We don’t know who has got this figure and where are the lands? The PPSS is aware of the fact that all the cultivable land and forest land that was under the occupation of the people earlier are still there now even in the so called project area.  All kinds of false propaganda, intimidation, false cases and threats of forcible eviction has not demoralized our people and they are doubly determined to take the struggle to its logical end that is till POSCO is driven out of the soil.

We fail to understand why a democratically elected government is so arrogantly going against its own people and working day and night for a profit oriented multinational having no commitment to our people and this country! The National Green Tribunal has already objected to the project. Both the center and the state governments have gone mad after POSCO and are not even willing to respect judicial and quasi-judicial bodies. Democracy and our right to dissent and protest are being brutally assaulted by the so called democratic government of the state.

We appeal all friends, well wishers and fellow fighters to expose the hypocrisy and misleading campaigns of the state and stand firmly with us till the demon POSCO is out of soil.

Abhya Sahu
Chairperson, Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti

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MoEF Review Committee visit to the proposed POSCO project area: Non Transparent, Shocking and Violates NGT concerns

Dear friends,

It may be informed that the Review Committee, which was formed by the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) in pursuance to the suspension of environment clearance to the proposed POSCO project by National Green Tribunal (NGT) , visited the proposed project site yesterday (21st August 2012). There was no prior information about the visit of the committee given to the people likely to be affected by the proposed project, though it seems the state administrative apparatus was fully aware of it along with the brokers working for the project for the last 6-7 years. Our people came to know about the visit suddenly only after the media reported about it.

The committee went to mainly Noliasahi and Nuagaon villages, where land has been acquired by force and deception, and the approach road which was being constructed from IOCL side. They deliberately choose not to visit Dhinkia Panchayat and interact with our people. This is quite bizarre as we have been opposing the project from its inception in 2005. The whole visit to the area was completed in just about an hour. The 2000 acres which is in Dhinkia Panchayat, which could not be usurped by the government due to opposition from our people, is key to the project due to its landscape. It is 3.5 km x 3 km whereas the width of the land which has been acquired is barely half a kilometer. The team also did not visit the proposed port site at the mouth of river Jatadhari. Without visiting such key sites and taking opinion of the key people, the report which will be given by such committee can only be eyewash and would be to the taste of central and state governments and the IDCO, which are hell bent upon implementing the project despite stiff opposition from people. Interestingly, the beneficiaries of the project eying on contract and construction work seem to have enjoyed confidence of the committee as they were the privileged people who could talk to visiting members.

On March 30, 2012 National Green Tribunal (NGT) had suspended the environment clearance to the project on the ground that clearance was given to the complete project of 12 MTPA basing on the Environment Impact Assessment done for 4 MTPA capacity. MoEF had appointed the review committee for ‘re-assessment and review’ as ordered by the NGT. However such un-informed and quick visit to only a portion of the proposed area is likely to capture an incomplete assessment of the possible environmental damage the proposed plant may cause.

PPSS strongly opposes such biased visit of the review committee and demand to scrap the project basing on the Saxena and majority view of Meena Gupta committee reports. PPSS has formally submitted a complaint to Ms. Jayanthi Natrajan, Minister, Environment and Forests opposing such a visit of pretence. A proper assessment of possible damage to the environment could be done by an impartially chosen committee which would visit all the key sites and meet all stake holders. This visit of the committee has been projected by a section of the media as reparatory exercise to give clearance to the project. Even a reputed Odia daily newspaper like Dharitri (edited by ruling BJD MP Sri Tathagat Satapathy ) ridiculed the way the committee visited the area and selectively saw sites and met people guided by district administration — all within an hour.

The PPSS will continue to oppose any unjust and undemocratic step taken anywhere to impose the project on our unwilling people. At the same time we appeal our friends who have been with us all these years to please write complaints to MoEF objecting such stage-managed visits and to generate public opinion everywhere highlighting the violations of law, ethics and democracy done deliberately by the governments at the centre and in the state. We would also request you to please inform the NGT that this visit of the MOEF committee is a clear contempt of the NGT order.

Please circulate this mail widely.

In Solidarity,
Prashant Paikary
Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti
Mobile no-09437571547
E-Mail – prashantpaikary@gmail.com

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Beware of Campaign by POSCO and Government to create ‘Feel Good’ ambience for project

Dear Friends,

Recently the government and POSCO have engaged in a media campaign aimed at confusing the entire mass.  They claim to have “downsized” the proposed steel plant, that the “people are coming around” and that the plant construction work will start in October 2012 etc. These  are apparently made to create a ‘feel good’ ambience in favour of the project. Stay cautious on such claims as many of such may simply be bewildering!

The fact that the people still oppose this unjust project is shown by the fact that yesterday i.e. on 9th July 2012, more than 700 villagers staged a rally in Dhinkia village in spite of  heavy rains. We reiterated our strong opposition against the recent move by the Naveen Patnaik government to acquire our land for the proposed POSCO steel plant project.  The State government is preparing to take over 700 acres of government land that had more than 500 betel vines  and about one lakh cashew trees belonging to our villagers. In order to acquire this  700 acres of forest land adjacent to Govindpur village, the company and the government are using the technique of “trap and divide” our people. However we are determined to defeat such designs by proving that we stand united.

It was decided at the meeting that to hold similar meetings in some other villages of the area, such as Gobindpur, Patana, and Nuagaon during this week  and  to prepare for a bigger rally at Batatikira at a later date. As you may know that at Batatikira, our villagers have been continuing daily with dharna since June 2011. The villagers have promised to foil any attempt by the government to acquire land for the POSCO. Our people had barricaded in many places to prevent the entry of officials in these areas.

We came to know from the media that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had assured the South Korean government that construction of the project would resume from July 2012 and had directed the state government to complete the initial formalities, including land acquisition for the project, at the earliest.

The latest move of the government and POSCO is to downsize the steel plant from 12 mt to 8-mt plant and thus the lad requirement from original 4004 acres is said to be reduced to 2700 acre of land. The government is saying that it will not acquire the private land for POSCO. Downsizing the plant and  non-acquisition of private land is meaningless, since it will still involve a huge takeover of ‘government’ land on which we have legal rights under Forest Rights Act 2006. Our people very well know this shrewd design of the government and POSCO to gradually acquire our fertile agricultural land and ruin our self- sustainable economy. The administration has not been able to acquire even a single acre of land all these years and will never be able to do so.

You may know that  the National Green Tribunal has suspended  the final 2011 environmental order on 30th March 2012.  The bench said:   “The entire process was vitiated in the eyes of law”..Ms. Jayanti Natarajan, Minister of Environmental and Forest (MOEF)  has recently formed a three member committee to review the environment clearance for the steel plant as per the order of  National Green Tribunal.  Shockingly, despite a direct and explicit direction from the NGT to ensure that the committee consists of “subject area experts”, it appears to be headed by an  Indian administrative Service (IAS) officer.  No doubt the Ministry will attempt to cover up its illegal actions again.   We are determined to continue our fight for the rights of peasants on their land, for our forests and natural resources, and against looting of our country’s resources. We will always oppose this unjust project.

Looking forward to your continuous support and co-operation. We shall inform you the further developments here.

In Solidarity,
Prashant Paikary
Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti
Mobile no-09437571547
E-Mail – prashantpaikary@gmail.com

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Observation of Black Day by PPSS on 22nd June (June 23, 2012)

Dear Friends,

More than 2000 people came in rally and gathered at Dhinkia village to observe the seventh  black day since signing of the POSCO pact on June 22, 2005.   In a loud and clear voice, people reiterated their stand that they will not give up an inch of land at any cost.

Welcoming all the leaders from nine political parties and different social movements leaders , Mr. Abhya Sahoo, thanked them for their constant support for the Anti-POSCO Movement. President of PPSS said that over the last seven years, the villagers have had to pay a heavy price for their peaceful opposition to the project in order to protect their habitat for future generations.

The prove to the indiscriminate brutal repression on the citizens of the country lies in the fact that two persons have so far been killed and many injured in clashes. Several leaders of the movement have been jailed multiple times.  Till now more than 1500 warrants have been issued against the people and more than 200 false cases have been registered at the Kujang police station since 2005.  There have been also multiple instances where police and the goons supported by POSCO have unleashed a reign of terror in the area. The legal condition of the villagers are so adverse that even their free movement to and fro from the village has been restricted as there has been many incidences where people going out of their village for some work have been implicated with false charges and put behind bars.   Mr. Sahoo said that this approach of false arrest and intimidation by the government only perpetuates  injustice and ruins the democratic fabric of the country.

“Extending solidarity  with the people, the leaders from nine political parties like CPI, CPM, Congress, RJD, SP, SUCI, CPIML (liberation), Forward block,  Samajwadi Jan Parishad  and representatives of different social movements  urged the Odisha government to respect the people’s sentiment and  scrap the  muderorous  POSCO project immediately”.  

In this occasion, Mr. A. B. Bardhan felicitated Mr. Narayan reddy and Umesh Biswal who was recently released on conditional bail after being imprisoned in for months.

“The local people have been agitating against the project for the last seven years. This is a clear indication that the people do not want the project here,” said veteran CPI leader A B Bardhan. He has also said the state government had sold itself to the MNC at the cost of the people.

Umesh Swain, a senior Congress leader, said chief  minister  of the state Mr. Naveen Pattnaik has been trying to do a Kalinga Nagar in Dhinkia to scare away the people. More than 50,000 people will have to be evicted from the area if the project has to come up. This approach of criminalizing of dissent in a democracy is a terribly short-sighted approach to governance and development.

Mr Prafulla Samantara from Lok Shakti Abhiyan  said the village Dhinkia has become a a pilgrimage  centre for all freedom loving people, non-violent struggle groups and people who respect human rights and social justice. He salutes the heroic struggle people and urged the villagers to continue opposing any move of the state government to acquire their fertile lands for POSCO.

Mr. Lingaraj of Samajabadi Jan Parishad said the state government has no right to give fertile land to any MNC to establish any industry when agriculture production is insufficient in the state. The recent plan of the Odisha state government to start the  project with a 8 mtpa steel  plant by POSCO  instead of 12 mtpa is actually a trap  to expand and acquire the resources of the people gradually. He said that acquiring land for a project without having any agreement is illegal.

There is also information about the resistance against POSCO becoming an issue across, we are extremely happy to inform you that we are getting reports that people in their respective cities have observed the black day in protest of land acquisition process by POSCO. On behalf of  the struggling people at Dhinkia, we convey  our heartfelt thanks to all of your support and co-operation at this high time.

Attaching herewith the photographs of yesterday’s meeting for your information.

In Solidarity,
Prashant Paikary
Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti
Mobile no-09437571547
E-Mail – prashantpaikary@gmail.com

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STOP POSCO! FREE INDIA! (June 8, 2012)

Dear Friends,

In another two months, India will complete 65 years of independence. We will be forced to remember many people who sacrificed their self interests for the benefit our freedom. Sadly, during the one and a half decades of the post-globalisation era in India, our leaders are sacrificing the very purpose of the sacrifices of those who fought for freedom. India’s land, rivers, hills, seas and forests are being sold to global corporates, displacing millions of farmers, dalits, adivasis and fisher folk today, devastating this country’s environment.

The project planned by the multinational giant POSCO represents the largest  Foreign Direct Investment of this country (FDI) during the post-globalised India. The project will destroy the lives of thousands of farmers, dalits, women, children, fisher people and indigenous people.

The people’s movement against POSCO started soon after the signing of the MOU between POSCO and Odisha Government. Since then over hundred bombs have been thrown at the resisting villagers by the pro-POSCO goons and around 100 villagers have been shot by the Odisha police. While our leaders like Abhay Sahoo and Narayan Reddy along with more than 1500 villagers and activists are facing over 200 fabricated false charges. Many villagers can not come out of their villages even for their hospitalization, due to the threat of arrests. While 5 activists are still in jail, the struggle against POSCO led by POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti is still resisting this invasion by a global capitalist giant in partnership with the Central and State Governments.

We believe that if the anti-POSCO movement is suppressed due to the interests of the corporations, it will affect many similar struggles in Odisha as well as rest of India. Since this SEZ project is the largest FDI investment in this country, it has to be treated as a symbol of struggle against globalization and India’s freedom. Therefore, we appeal to all freedom lovers in India and all over the world to mark your resistance by responding on the day of the completion of the 7th year of signing of the MOU between POSCO and the Government, on June 22, 2012. We appeal to all activists, organizations, people’s movements and concerned indivuals against globalization to express their strong protest against this corporate invasion of our lands. We appeal to groups and people’s movements working on fisher people, dalits, women, children and indigenous people to organize solidarity actions on June 22nd, since it is the lives of these very forces which are at stake. On this historical event,PPSS calls for the following actions all over India and abroad to initiate the following actions:

  1. Protests in your region demanding the ouster of POSCO and removal of all fabricated false cases against activists and villagers.
  2. Public meetings in your region condemning the threat of displacement and environmental destruction by POSCO.
  3. Expressions through, songs, posters, paintings, theatre, print media and internet actions against POSCO.
  4. Mobilise concerned sections to be part of the event in Odisha.
  5. Write letters to the Prime Minister of India and the Chief Minister of Odisha.
  6. Document the events in Odisha and elsewhere through written media as well as video for future campaigns, or
  7. Any other symbolic or imaginative actions you may chose.

We welcome all those who wish to participate in the event in Odisha and express their support to this historic struggle.

In Solidarity,
Prashant Paikary
Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti
Mobile no-09437571547
E-Mail – prashantpaikary@gmail.com

How to Reach 

  • Board the train Puri-Paradeep passenger at 7am from Bhubaneswar and 8.30 am from Cuttack.
  • Get down at the station Bada Bandha (Before Paradeep Railway station) at 10 am (distance from Bada bandha to Patnahat is 7 km).
  • Public meeting at Patanahat from noon to 3 PM at Balithitha.
  • Return by the train Paradeep – Puri Passanger  from Bada Bandha at 5.30 pm.

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Update from POSCO Pratirodh Sangam Samiti (PPSS) as on June 1, 2012

Dear Friends,

On 30th May 2012, over 600 people from 10 Grama Panchayats under Erasama block converged at Nuaratanpur village in Kunjakothi Panchayat and opposed the new proposal of construction of  wooden bridge over  Mahanga river  for the  proposed POSCO  project.

Mr. Pitambar Das, Convenor of Jatadhar Bachao Andolan (Anti-Port POSCO Movement) presided over the meeting. Villagers shared that they will intensify stir against the construction of the wooden bridge.  For the first time,  people from 10 Panchayat’s had gathered to oppose  in a single platform for opposing the POSCO work.

This is for your information that in the year 2007, the administration had taken similar  initiative constructing the same wooden bridge at Ratanpur but failed owing steep resistance of our people.

As you may know, Odisha Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (IDCO) had selected coastal road from Paradeep to the proposed POSCO site to transport construction and other materials for POSCO related work. As we strongly resisted against the construction work of the coastal  road, their plan was measurably failed. As an alternative, IDCO has reselected  to construct a new road from Erasama to the proposed POSCO area for said purposes.

The proposed bridge would certainly help POSCO work as communication will be opened between Sahadamatha to Bhuyanpala of Gadakujanga Gram Panchayat, as we are opposing the POSCO project since years,  in no circumstances will allow construction of this bridge.

Meanwhile our protest is continuing in the Govindpur village boarder opposing POSCO project.

Kindly circulate this mail widely.

In Solidarity,
Prashant Paikary
Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti
Mobile no-09437571547
E-Mail – prashantpaikary@gmail.com

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Update from POSCO Pratirodh Sangam Samiti (PPSS) as on May 21, 2012

Dear Friends,

On May 16th 2012, when Odisha Chief Minister Nabin Pattnaik was meeting the CMD of the controversial POSCO project defying the people’s mandate against the steel project more than 2000 people made a huge protest rally at Govindpur village opposing the undemocratic, unjust and uncalled for move of the Chief Minister to entertain POSCO-India CMD Yong Won Yoon. We once gain made our voice loud and clear and our people once again strongly resolved that we would not allow the government to acquire agricultural land for POSCO.

We strongly condemn unfair deal between the Odisha government and POSCO-India on 16th of May to set up an 8 MTPA Greenfield steel plant by downsizing the earlier plan of establishing a 12 MTPA facility.   This reflects the Patnaik government’s total contempt for democracy and democratic dissent by masses on a crucial issue affecting their land, life and livelihood. The Chief Minster does not have time to discuss with his own people who are in distress but can afford the luxury of entertaining foreign representatives to give away rich land and resources at the cost of the peace and prosperity of people of the land. He is yet to visit the area ever since the black MOU was signed with POSCO on 22nd June 2005. Instead of scrapping the ecologically destructive projects, the chief minister is trying to slap us on our face by announcing that POSCO is going to set up a training centre at Ersama for imparting skill education for the local youths in the name of corporate social responsibility. We know very well POSCO and the state government are trying to hoodwink the people into believing that the company will provide jobs to the local people.

All these are happening at a time when the mining issue has not been resolved in the Apex Court and the National Green Tribunal has stopped the clearance granted to POSCO on flimsy ground. We would also like to inform you that the Captive Port (Jatadhari) ofPOSCO which was accorded Environmental Clearance on dated 15th May 2007 under EIA Notification 2006 has no validity now. The notification says validity of environmental clearance for Port Project is five year for commencing the construction activities of project. In this context as no work has been started in Port Project, hence the environmental clearance of POSCO Port expires since 14th May 2012 and no further work can be started in Port Project till the MoEF issues fresh clearance.

However, the release  of Com Narayan Reddy on bail  on 18th May 2012 from a false case has added more to our strength.

Kindly circulate this mail widely.

In Solidarity,
Prashant Paikary
Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti
Mobile no-09437571547
E-Mail – prashantpaikary@gmail.com

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Update from POSCO Pratirodh Sangam Samiti (PPSS) as on May 6, 2012

Dear Friends,

During the recent visit of South Korean ambassador to India Kim Joong Keun to Odisha, he said that POSO may reduce the capacity of production of the proposed steel plant in case they do not get all the land needed. POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) strongly opposes this shrewd new formula of the POSCO. We make it clear that our people are not going to be befooled by it. The land that government has acquired for the project till now has been done at the gun point. People have been given false promises and cheated. One can come to Gada Kujang and Nuagaon areas and see the helpless condition of people whose land government has taken by force and by fraudulent means. We demand all the land which have been taken by the government should be returned to people.

After the environmental clearance to the project was suspended by the National Green Tribunal (NGT), the company has closed down its field office from Noliasahi. But we want the company to completely pack up and go from our area.

Our leader Narayan Reddy and seven other friends are still languishing in jail in false charges. PPSS reiterates its demand to release them unconditionally.

We have come to know that despite the suspension of the green clearance, the state government may still resume land acquisition in June. We will oppose any such move tooth and nail.

In the mean time the members of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) visited our area and took stock of the situation. It has found the breach of promise by the government made to the people whose lands have been taken and said improper rehabilitation and not providing regular allowance until employment is given to people amount to human rights violation. While we appreciate the note taken by NHRC, we demand that forceful usurpation of sources of livelihood of people is still more serious form of human rights violation and NHRC should take note of this. The NHRC has ordered 5 lakh rupees compensation to the wife of late Tapan Mandal who was killed by the pro-POSCO goons during the clash. The government and Red Cross had given a compensation of 60 thousand rupees to her, which NHRC found to be grossly inadequate.

We are continuing our Dharana near Govindpur village and will continue our peaceful demonstration till the project is scrapped.

Kindly circulate this mail widely.

In Solidarity,
Prashant Paikary
Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti
Mobile no-09437571547
E-Mail – prashantpaikary@gmail.com

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Update from POSCO Pratirodh Sangam Samiti (PPSS) as on March 31, 2012

Dear friends,

We welcome the judgment of National Green Tribunal (NGT) on 30th March 2012 for suspension of the final 2011 environmental order of the then environment minister Jairam Ramesh in favour of the Korean Company. From the beginning, we have been protesting against handing over our fertile agricultural land, sources of livelihood of 20,000 people and rich environment to a private company like POSCO. The judgment of NGT now brings the real truth. We demand the complete scrapping of this project.

The tribunal pointed out that memorandum of understanding between the Odisha government and Posco states that the project is for production of 12 million tonnes of steel per annum (MTPA) but the environment impact assessment (EIA) report has been prepared only for 4 MTPA steel productions in the first phase. “The entire process was vitiated in the eyes of law,” the bench said in this regard.

NGT has rightly said that “A project of this magnitude particularly in partnership with a foreign country has been dealt with casually, without there being any comprehensive scientific data regarding the possible environmental impacts. No meticulous scientific study was made on each and every aspect of the matter leaving lingering and threatening environmental and ecological doubts un-answered.”

You may remember that Ramesh had set up a four-member committee under the ex-environment secretary Meena Gupta to review the case. Gupta had given a minority report in favour of the project even while pointing out several lacunae, but the other three had demanded the project’s cancellation. Ramesh went ahead and cleared the project after this in January, 2011, with some conditions.

The tribunal bench observed that Gupta’s findings were “definitely hit by personal/official/departmental bias, in other words she supported the decision made by her earlier. This is a gross violation of principles of natural justice. Therefore, the entire process of review is vitiated under law”.

In another development, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) in its latest report (civil) for the year ended March 31, 2011 has rapped the state revenue department for acquiring land for these industries by invoking emergency provisions without fulfilling the conditions prescribed under Land Acquisition Act-1894.

An audit scrutiny of these land acquisition cases reveals that 4,967.08 acres of land valued at Rs 165 crore (approximate present market value Rs 901.30 crore) were acquired between July 2002 and March 2011 for establishment of industries by six promoters- Posco India Ltd (Jagatsinghpur)-437.86 acres, Aditya Aluminium Ltd (Sambalpur)-2021.41 acres, Bhusan Power & Steel Ltd (Sambalpur)-608.67 acres, Viraj Steel & Energy Ltd (Sambalpur)-2.58 acres, VAL (Kalahandi)-826.56 acres, Dhamara Port Company Ltd (Bhadrak)-1070 acres and.

The CAG is also sore over the fact that land acquired in case of all these six industrial projects was not put to use for a period ranging from 15 months to six years three months from the date of publication of notification under Section 4 (1) against the stipulated time period of six months.

The CAG has also pointed out that application of emergency clause in these cases was misplaced and deprived the land losers of the opportunity to contest the propriety of such acquisition and to be heard under Section 5A of the Land Acquisition Act. We also come to know from the media report that the Orissa law department has objected to the proposal to extend or renew the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed with the POSCO, saying that it will be illegal to extend the validity of an expired MoU.

As you may know that the five-year term of the MoU signed between the Orissa government and Posco in June 2005 for setting up integrated steel plant at our villages lapsed in June 2010. The government and POSCO had been in negotiation since for renewal of the MoU with some changes in original terms and conditions.

The law department said. That “In the instant case it appears that 5 years have already expired. So, after expiry of the period of validity, extension of the same may not be possible. Extension is made prospectively before the expiry of the original MoU,”

We will keep opposing the project. All these reports by NGT and the CAG exemplifies the strength of our democracy and the independence of various institutions of democracy. We are confident that at the end of the day the voice of people will be victorious.

I am attaching herewith the press statement of Lok Shakti Abhiyan on NGT verdict on POSCO for your information.

Kindly circulate this mail widely.

In Solidarity,
Prashant Paikary
Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti
Mobile no-09437571547
E-Mail – prashantpaikary@gmail.com

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Update from POSCO Pratirodh Sangam Samiti (PPSS) as on March 30, 2012

Dear friends,

We are strongly condemning the recent statement of the prime minister, Manomahan Singh assuring South Korean President Lee Myung- Bak in Seoul to build proposed POSCO steel plant in our fertile agricultural land. It’s an irony that the president of South Korea is dancing to the tune of POSCO and lobbying for a private company. In return, our Prime Minister kowtowed before the South Korean President by promising him to build the steel plant for POSCO in our land.

This is completely wrong and unethical on the part of South Korea President Lee Myung Bak to seek Indian government’s cooperation in building the steel plant in Odisha in the face of our resistance against forceful land acquisition for the project. It is none of the South Korean government’s business whether the people of India allow POSCO project on their land or not. We will strongly protest against any attempt by the Naveen Pattnaik government to forcefully acquire our land.

We are also condemning the board of approval of the commerce ministery extending the validity of the in-principle approval for the SEZ project of M/S POSCO -India private Ltd, up to October 25, 2012. The approval comes just days before the prime minister is scheduled to leave foe a four- day visit to Seoul on 24 , 2012. This is the extension granted to the entity by the Commerce Ministery on the request of the Odisha Government.

Our people are in high alert and continuing their daily protest at Govindpur village boarder.

On dated 21st of March 2012, Mr. Abhaya Sahoo was felicitated by Human Rights Front and National Human Rights Commission for the significant contribution as a the human rights defenders of the state. The eminent personalities adorning the occasion apart from the human rights defenders from the various regions of the state were, Mr. A K Parashar, Joint Registrar(Law)& Focal Point for human rights defenders NHRC, Mrs. Jyoti panigrahi (Chairperson State Women Commisssion) Dr. Bimalendu Mohanty (Former Vice Chancelor & Chairman,Transparency International India-Odisha Chapter and Mrs. Namrata Chadha, former member State Commission.

I am also attaching herewith the open letter to Naveen Pattnaik Government by the South Korean civil society, a note by Rupesh, a student from TISS on his recent experience during his stays at Dhinkia and a cartoon on POSCO for your information.

Kindly circulate this mail widely.

In Solidarity,
Prashant Paikary
Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti
Mobile no-09437571547
E-Mail – prashantpaikary@gmail.com

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Update from POSCO Pratirodh Sangam Samiti (PPSS) as on March 16, 2012

Dear friends,

It comes as a matter of cheer that our leader Abhay Sahoo, against whom false charge of giving protection to an accused in an alleged dowry death in Dhinkia Panchayat was clamped, has been granted bail by the Honourable High Court of Odisha, and has been released from Choudwar jail at 5 pm on 14th March 2012 as per the direction of the lower court. False charges under SC/ST atrocities Act was also clamped against him by the local administration. In both the cases he has been granted bail.

After release, Abhay Sahoo thanked all friends and well wishers who have stood for our cause of fighting against POSCO. It’s a victory of the people in struggle. We expect Judiciary to stand up to the cause and defend fundamental rights of citizen. With the release of our leader, our resolve to fight against the company and to protect our land and forest is doubled. We will, democratically and peacefully, continue to oppose any usurpation of our land by company goons or by the administration.

POSCO Pratirodha Sangram Samiti (PPSS) expresses hearty thanks to our friends who have stood with us during our hard moments and continued to support our genuine cause. In the mean time, the matter of illegal and deceiving arrest of our leader Abahy Sahoo was raised recently in the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) official meeting in Geneva recently by some activist friends and it has been recorded in the UNHRC minutes. We seek all your support and cooperation to continue our peaceful and democratic protest.

Kindly circulate this mail widely.

In Solidarity,
Prashant Paikary
Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti
Mobile no-09437571547
E-Mail – prashantpaikary@gmail.com

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Update from POSCO Pratirodh Sangam Samiti (PPSS) as on March 4, 2012

Dear Friends,

The reign of terror has once again been unleashed in our POSCO targeted villages since 2nd March, 2012. This certainly coincides with the release of the noted criminal Bapi Sarkel on February 29, 2012. A group of armed men came around 1PM on 2nd March 2012 on motor cycle and took away Umakant Biswal age-33, of Dhinkia village-a known activist of the anti-POSCO struggle. Umakant was working at that time in his agricultural field. Umakant suspected them to be police and tried to run away but could not escape. People in the nearby area did hear some shots fired and they now strongly believe he has been fired at and injured which has created tension in our villages. We get reports that he has been kept in Paradip police station and is being physically and mentally tortured. If he has sustained any bullet or other injuries they should take him to the hospital immediately. But they are not doing that. We are aware of the fact that, as per the law, the police are supposed to produce him before the magistrate within 24 hours of arrest. However, more than 24 hours have passed but he has not been produced before the magistrate. No one including the villagers, lawyer or even the parents is allowed to meet him in the police station. As we said before, the police have now virtually cordoned off our area and are now hunting innocent people for doing the ‘crime’ of democratic peaceful protests against a foreign multinational company called POSCO who is willing to adopt all illegal and unjust means both covertly and overtly to take away our resources.

As you know since months our leader Mr. Abhay Sahoo is still behind the bar along with our supporter like Narayan Reddy and Jayant Biswal. In contrast, Mr. Bapi Sharkel the POSCO company henchmen – a local contractor and mafia don who was the architect of 14th December, 2011 injuring our people has been released from jail on 29th February 2012 after a royal treatment in the jail which had been turned in to a 5 star hotel for him. Because of his contribution to POSCO Bapi Sarket got the advantage of having a very friendly police and prosecution to his aid.

In this Naveen Pattnaik government, the democratic leaders are languishing in the jail, and the mafia and anti-social elements are moving freely continuing their criminal activities. Meanwhile our protest is continuing in the Govindpur village boarder opposing the POSCO project.

We request you to please call and write to the following authorities to have hospitalize Umakant immediately. We shall inform you the ongoing developments here. Kindly circulate this mail widely.

In Solidarity,
Prashant Paikary
Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti
Mobile no-09437571547
E-Mail – prashantpaikary@gmail.com

Please Write and Call immediately to the following:

1. Mr. Narayan Chandra Jena, District Collector, Jagatsinghpur,
Off:0724-220379, Res: 0724-220199, 220299+919437038401 , Fax No : +916724220299

2. SP Jagatsinghpur
off 06724-220115 res- 06724-220015 Mobile No- +919437094678 dmjsp@ori.nic.in

3. DSP Jagatsinghpur, Off: +91-9437026173 , 06724-220530

4. SDPO, Paradeep, Off: 06722-222451 , Res: 06722-222007

5. Police Station, Paradeep: Off: 06722-222027 , Res: 06722-222057

6. Mr. S. K. Patnayak, Chief Secretary, Government of Odhisa,
FAX: 0674 – 2536660 e.mail csori@ori.nic.in

7. Naveen Patnaik, Chief Minister, Odisha, Fax 0674-2535100 E. mailcmo@ori.nic.in

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Update from POSCO Pratirodh Sangam Samiti (PPSS) as on February 2, 2012

Dear Friends,

Since our last update on the anti-POSCO movement, a lot has been happening in the Anti POSCO world. One thing that has not changed is that for the last three months our leader Mr. Abhaya Sahoo, and our supporter Mr. Narayan Reddy, Mr. Jayant Biswal are still languishing in the jail. The state government has filed false cases to derail and destabilize our democratic and non violent protest against this forceful acquisition of our land. Even though our leader is still in jail, the movement continues on as state wide panchayat poll (local–self governance) process has been started. The state government had taken a decision not to hold Sarapanch Election in the Dhinkia Panchayat. This undemocratic action of the state election commission which has been taken at the behest of the state government needs to be questioned by all people who love democracy.

But in this election some of our supporters have decided to fight for different positions elsewhere just to highlight our plight and not to allow the Panchayat Raj structures to be left to the misuse and manipulation of pro-POSCO forces.

Ms. Meena Hembram (46) a native of Polang village under Erasama Block is contesting poll for the post of panchayat samiti member at Gadakujang panchayat. The posts of panchayat Samiti member is reserved for tribal women. Five years ago, she was elected as a ward member. You may recall that in 2011, the state government had told the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MOEF) that there were no tribals living in the proposed POSCO villages covering Dhinkia, Nuagaon and Gadakujang gram panchayats. This was a move of the government to avoid the implementation of Forest Rights Act 2006. The state government of Odisha had told the MOEF that no traditional forest dwellers had cultivated the forest land in the area for at least three generations. However, the Meena Gupta committee set up by Union Ministry of Environment and Forest (MOEF) had mentioned in its report 21 tribals living in Polang village. The filing of nomination by tribal women Ms. Meena Hembram for the panchayat samiti polls has proved the state government’s submission to MOEF as false.

While we are sharing this information our villagers are in the dire need of medical help. Different groups across the country are extending their support to us. The support includes the visit of doctors and providing medicines.

After elections, the state government may resume construction of the coastal road to facilitate the implementation of POSCO Project. We are continuing the protest against the construction of the coastal road. Daily around 300 villagers are demonstrating their protest at Balitikira, Govindpur Village boarder which was started from June 12, 2011. We have been opposing the POSCO project for over six years and our protest will continue unabated. We are in the high alert and shaping our strategies.

We shall inform you the ongoing development here. Kindly circulate this mail widely.

In solidarity,
Prashant Paikary
Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti
Mobile No: 09437571547
Email: prashantpaikray@gmail.com

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Update from POSCO Pratirodh Sangam Samiti (PPSS) as on January 4, 2012

Dear Friends,

On the 2nd of January 2012, around 2000 villagers gathered at Balitikiri, Govindpur village boarder in protest against the illegal arrest of our leader Mr. Abhaya Sahoo, Mr. Narayan Reddy and Mr. Jayant Biswal. We demanded that all the false cases against our leaders should be immediately withdrawn. This protest was organized in view of the Prime minister’s recent visit to Odisha on 3rd January 2012.

In gathering on 2nd January, the peaceful democratic protestors gathered to reiterate that our area is not meant for industry. This is fertile agricultural land with a self reliant economy that feeds urban India which cannot be put to any other use. Let the Prime Minister and Chief Minister come and see it for themselves.

The police have now virtually cordoned our area and are now hunting innocent people for the ‘crime’ of democratic peaceful protest. Our people cannot even access the nearest market for the medical treatment. Our people are in dire need of doctors and medicines and we need your help as the health conditions in our area continue to deteriorate.

We earnestly request that all of our supporters consider arranging to send medical teams to the area through donations or direct assistance of medical personnel, equipment, supplies and medicine.

We repeat, we will continue to fight against the forceful usurpation of our land and livelihood.

Attached herewith is the resolution of the all party meeting held on 30th Of December 2011 at Lohia Academy, Bhubaneswar, Odisha. We shall inform you the ongoing development here. Looking forward to your kind support.

Kindly circulate this mail widely.

In solidarity,
Prashant Paikary
Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti
Mobile No: 09437571547
Email: prashantpaikray@gmail.com

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Update from POSCO Pratirodh Sangam Samiti (PPSS) as on December 26, 2011

Dear Friends,

On 23rd December 2011, the government arrested CPI leader and former legislator, Mr. Narayan Reddy, who is supporting our movement, at Japa Square in Erasama area of Jagatsinghpur district. Mr. Reddy was taken to Kujang police station and then produced before a local court which remanded him to judicial custody for two weeks.

After the 14th incident, the government has adopted all dirty means to sabotage our democratic movement. The government has slapped false charges of murder against our 11 activists along with 150 unnamed villagers. On 23rd December, the Panchayati raj department issued a gazette notification on three-tire panchayat elections to be held in the state. The Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Raghunath Mohanty declared in the State Assembly, on behalf of Panchayatiraj Minister Maheswar Mohanty that Elections  will not be held in the Dhinkia  as the situation is not favourable.  Mohanty said that in a special statement in the house that the five-year term of Gram Panchayat members and sarpanches, panchayat samiti members and chairmen and Zilla Parishad members is going to completed by March 2012.

We strongly condemn the dirty tricks played by the state establishment. Firstly, they have illegally suspended the elected Sarapanch of Dhinkia village, Secondly, they declared the Palli Sabha (Village Council) is illegal but didnt convene the fresh Palli sabha to listen the peoples voice and thirdly, they are not holding any election in our villages. Here lies the dishonesty. This exposes the real intention of the government to curtail the genuine peoples voices at panchayat level. Because the government knows clearly that once our people have their elected Sarapanch, they will claim rights over forest land by holding Palli Sabha. This will again create hindrance for the government to hand over our land to the proposed POSCO steel plant. This is the clear case of throttling the genuine peoples voices. Their effort is to undermine the legitimacy of people for the land and resources under forest rights. In other words, peoples effort for self determination and self governance are completely disregarded.

The latest news is Mr. Bapi Sharkel , the local contractor and the mafia who is the architect of 14th December incident of attacking our people with his goons, was arrested due to constant pressure from opposition parties . He was kept in a hotel initially and later shifted to the Kujang jail. We learnt that deliberately the police has not filed section 302 of the Indian Penal Code i.e. charges of murder in his name.  In the legislative assembly, opposition members were demanding the chief minister of Odisha to provide the details of  the cases against the Bapi Sharkel. Instead of giving details, the legislative assembly was abruptly suspended before six days from its schedule. The government is using all unfair means to save the criminal even to the extent of adjourning the Assembly sine die in order to get away from the public scrutiny and accountability.

We learnt that the police are giving royal treatment to the Bapi Sharkel inside the jail. A television set has been provided to him in the jail by the police.  All types of perks and facilities are being regularly provided to him. The police DIG (Central range) Mr. D.S. Kuttey, has a past record of having conducted the ruthless repression in Kalinga Nagar area of Jajpur district  was given charge to crush our struggle.  We are requesting our media friends to investigate in details.

We request your voice of protest against this undemocratic and unethical behavior of the state government of Odisha. We are attaching herewith the statement from representatives of various organizations on the violent attack on anti-POSCO protestors on 14th December 2011 and its aftermath.

We shall inform you the ongoing development here. Kindly  circulate  this  mail  widely.

In solidarity,
Prashant Paikary
Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti
Mobile no – 09437571547
E -Mail-  prashantpaikray@gmail.com

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Update from POSCO Pratirodh Sangam Samiti (PPSS) as on December 20, 2011

Dear Friends,

As you are already aware, though our protesting villagers are yet come out of the shocking incidents of 14th December 2011 when our peaceful protesters were physically assaulted by the private militia under the leadership of a don called Bapi Sarkel who has been given a contract to do some work for IDCO/POSCO, the woes and worries of the struggle is not coming to an end. The critically injured persons are still struggling for survival in the absence of any government or non-government medical help as there is a strong fear that they will be arrested the moment they are seen in public. The reason being- in the process of assaulting us with bombs and other weapons, they killed one of their own men. This was how they created a ground to arrest all the leaders and active supporters of PPSS in this pretext by implicating them in the “murder” case. If you may kindly recall this was how they also arrested our leader Mr. Abhay Sahu.

The Naveen Pattnaik government continues to be inhuman, undemocratic, unethical and cruel in his approach to promote rapid industrialization in the state. Now the private militia has taken place of the police and attempting to intimidate and crush us. Needless to say that the private militia has all the backing of the police and district administration who apparently have got clear instructions from the Chief Minister to go ahead. Following the incidence, our honourable MLAs, cutting across party line, strongly protested the involvement of private army who unleashed violence on the unarmed villagers in the floor of the Odisha Assembly. The media also covered the matter in great detail and there was public outrage. Due to the pressure from public, MLAs and the media, the government has transferred the mastermind Priyabrata Patnaik from Managing Director of IDCO to a position of insignificance. But it is said the person replacing him is more cleaver and more efficient in advancing the corporate agenda. In response to the uproar in the state Assembly, Chief Minister Naveen Pattnaik made a statement on the floor of the assembly that the police and the civil administration were not informed about the road construction. If this is true, then he should accept his inefficiency (as he is holding the Home Ministry with him) and resign. In reality, however, the Police and administration at the district and state level were fully supportive of the nasty design of the Contractor Bapi Sarkel and his goons.

Bapi Sarkel has kept people from Thailand as his bodyguards. They carry arms with them. Who has allowed these foreigners to carry arms in Indian soil? And ironically, the contractor has been provided with a Special Protection Officer by then district police ! Demands of the MLAs to arrest Bapi Sarkel has fall in deaf year of the government. On the other day, the police raided his residence and office and told the media that they did not get him or any incriminating documents. This is amazing that police does not get a person who was openly speaking in front of private TV channels and blaming the MLAs. We demand the immediate arrest of such a person who is using his goons to attack us.

We believe that the raid on Bapi Sarkel’s house was drama enacted to lauch a series of arrests of the our leaders and supporters who have been falsely implicated in the killing of the goon who had come to attack our people but died as a result of their own bombing on December 14. Instead of taking action against the contractor and the police officials supporting him, the administration has clamped false case of murder against former legislator and CPI leader Narayan Reddy, who is now helping the movement on the request of PPSS and our arrested leader Abhay Sahuji. We have come to know that, as part of the larger design to crush our movement, the government is planning to arrest our people like Mr. Prashant Paikary, Spokesperson of PPSS, our leader like Mr. Ram Krushan Panda, National council Member, Communist Party of India (CPI), Mr. Bapi ( son of Abhaya Sahoo) and others.

On 19th December 2011, the leaders of five parties, Communist Party of India (CPI), CPI (Marxist), Forward Bloc, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Samajwadi Party submitted a memorandum to the Honourable Governor registering protest against the project related work in the proposed POSCO plant area in the absence of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

Amidst this chaos, POSCO officials have quietly opened a project site office at Dadhibamanpada in Nuagaon Panchayat.

Our villagers including children and women are continuing our protest at Balitikira, bordering Govindpur village, to protest against the forceful land acquisition for POSCO. We are guarding at different gates round-the-clock to prevent the arrest of our people and other leaders. Our villagers are in strong determination to fight till the POSCO withdraws its project.

Our friends will constantly update you with any further developments. Please continue to demand the withdrawal of the project and all cases registered against our people. Kindly circulate the mail widely with a request to express the solidarity with us.

Awaiting the same quick and positive response from you.

Sisir Mohapatra
Secretary, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS).
Mobile no.-09437571547

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Update from POSCO Pratirodh Sangam Samiti (PPSS) as on December 14, 2011

Dear Friends,
We are in terrible shock and disbelief having faced more than 500 armed goons engaged by one Mafia don Bapi Circle under the banner of Paradip Industrial development Council and patronized by the police and administration who forcefully entered the sile of our peaceful and non-violent protest around 1.30 pm today and started attacking us by using bombs and weapons. As a result, at least eight villagers of PPSS were injured and one of them has got serious injury.
From the morning onwards, more than 2000 villagers were making a peaceful demonstration against the construction of a coastal sea road for POSCO.  The private goons who had created a scene of terror yesterday did a repeat show today. Their own bombs apart from injuring our villagers did also result in killing a member of their own team. We strongly condemn the conspiracy hatched by the Nabin Patnaik government to engage private militia in order to create a situation of crisis which would demand police intervention. We consider the act as cowardice and no democracy worth its name should tolerate such an act of violence perpetrated by hired goons.
Though the situation is grim and our people are shocked, we are waiting with the same determination to protest peacefully even if the police after creating such a scene tries to enter the village to bulldoze our peaceful and democratic movement. We request you to please stand up and expose the unethical, unjust and undemocratic means that the state has been using to crush the movement and to make the movement discredited in the eyes of public who don’t have a chance to know the real truth behind any act of conspiracy the police and the mafia are hatching everyday. Please join hands with us, stand by us and support our cause. Please circulate the message as widely as possible. We  shall inform you the ongoing development here.
Hoping for more solidarity from you.
Prashant Paikary
Spokesperson,
POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti
Mobile no – 09437571547E -Mail-  prashantpaikray@gmail.com
Please Write and Call:
1.Mr. Shri Manmohan Singh,
Prime Minister of India,
Prime Minister’s Office, Room number 152, South Block,
New Delhi
Fax: + 91 11 23016857;
2. Mr. P. Chidambaram,
Union Minister of Home Affairs,
Ministry of Home Affairs, 104-107 North Block,
New Delhi 110001
Fax: +91 11 2309 2979 / 23094221
Email hm@nic.in
3. Justice K. G. Balakrishnan,
Chairperson, National Human Rights Commission of India,
Faridkot House, Copernicus Marg,
New Delhi 110001
Fax: +91 11 2334 0016, 23384863
4. Naveen Patnaik,
Chief Minister, Odisha
Fax 0674-2535100
5. Mr. S. K. Patnayak,
Chief Secretary, Government of Odhisa
FAX: 0674 – 2536660
6.  Mr. Narayan Chandra Jena,
District Collector, Jagatsinghpur.
Phone: +919437038401
Fax: +9167242202997. Mr. Debadutta Singh,
Superintendent of Police
Phone: +919437094678

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Update from POSCO Pratirodh Sangam Samiti (PPSS) as on December 7, 2011

Dear Friends,

Our leader Mr. Abhya Sahoo is still languishing in the Choudwar jail. We learnt that the district administration is all set starting proposed coastal road for POSCO. Our people have intensified the protest by sitting on dharna and strongly oppose the construction of coastal road for POSCO. We have raised woodden gates and barricades in all the village entry points to prevent the entry of police and officials. As our leader Mr. Abhya Sahoo is remaining in jail, CPI leader and former party MLA Narayan Reddy is leading our struggle now. We are planning to make a mass protest at Govindpur village on 10th December 2011. The eminent lawyer and noted social activist, Prashant Bhushan has given his consent to join on December 10, 2011.We are determined that we will continue agitation till the state government withdraws POSCO project from our area.

On 5th of December 2011, we had organized a peaceful Dharana in Dhinkia Village opposing the proposed coastal road construction. Jagatsinghpur MP Bibhu Prasad Tarai, social activist Praffulla Samantra, left party leaders Narayan Reddy, Baburam Choudhury, a labour leader from Jharkhand Aravinda Anjum and anti Posco leader Sisir Mohapatra took part in the agitation. While speaking on the occasion, leaders criticized state government’s whimsical action against anti Posco leader Abhya Sahoo and described the man is languishing in jail without fault as because he raised anti Posco stand so they demanded immediate release of Abhya Sahoo from jail.

We are earnestly requesting you all to join us our demonstration on 10th December,2011 to give message that use of force by the administration will not be tolerated and POSCO must pack up from here.

Former UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing, Miloon Kothari and Associate Director, Housing and Land Rights Network, Shivani Chaudhry, visited villages of Dhinkia Panchayat and Nuagaon on 30 November. In another visit, Ms. Kavita Srivastava, National Secretary, PUCL and Pramodini Pradhan, Convenor, PUCL, Odisha visited to the area and expressed solidarity with our villagers. We are attaching herewith two different press releases made by human rights experts and People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) for your information and wider circulations.

We shall inform you the ongoing developments here.

Kindly circulate this mail widely.

In Solidarity,
Prashant Paikary
Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti
Mobile No: 09437571547
Email: prashantpaikary@gmail.com

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Update from POSCO Pratirodh Sangam Samiti (PPSS) as on December 3, 2011

Dear Friends,

At the outset, we would like to covey our heartfelt thanks to you all for your immediate response against the illegal arrest of our leader Mr. Abhya Sahoo.

Today i.e. 3rd Dec 2011, the police with the help of private militia camping and intimidating the villagers of Govindpur and preparing to continue laying roads in the area. The police are using all sorts of repressive measures including that of implicating men and women in false cases. We are now clear that the state government has made a pre-planned strategy to weaken the democratic movement by continuing its attack on the peaceful protesters from all sides. Our villagers have blocked the main road in different places in the area to prevent entry of police and private militia in to the villages of Dhinkia, Nuagaon and Gadakujang.

On 28th November, the Communist party of India (CPI) general secretary A.B. Bardhan, Central Committee addresses the protesting villagers in Dhinkia GP along with Politburo Member D. Raja and senior leader Narayan Reddy and demanded the immediate release of Mr. Abhaya Sahu the leader of the Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti who has been by a design implicated in a murder case. The leaders also opposed the State government’s move to construct an approach road along the coastline to connect the port town of Paradip with the site selected for the proposed steel mill. This is happening at a time when the MOU with POSCO has not been renewed for the last 2 years and all illegal work of the state has been thoroughly exposed.

In Bhubaneswar, state capital of Odisha,a protest demonstration was also organised by a large group of leaders of left parties, social activists and representatives of various mass organisations demanding the unconditional release of Mr. Sahu. The leaders condemned the state government authorities for arresting the democratic leader Mr. Abhay Sahoo.

On 25th of November, Mr. Abhaya Sahoo, was illegally arrested and sent to jail after his bail application was rejected by a court in Kujanga. He was produced before Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate, Kujanga, Alpana Swain who rejected his bail application and remanded him in to 14 days judicial custody. Police said that altogether 10 cases were slapped against Sahu during last three months which included clash with police during construction of a coastal road and involvement in a dowry related death incident.

We are requesting all of you to redouble your effort to put pressure on the government and release our leader Mr. Abhaya Sahoo. Different democratic protests are in the process and will also be held in other parts of the country on different dates. There is also a systematic effort by the state forces now led by the notorious Priyabrata Pattnaik to penetrate in to the villages in some pretext with the help of private militia and terrorize the protesters and then to divide them. Please expose the dual mindset of the CM Nabin Patnaik who says that no force will be used but in reality allows all kind of repression to continue.

We shall inform you the ongoing development here. Kindly circulate this mail widely.

In solidarity,
Prashant Paikary
Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti
Mobile No: 09437571547
Email: prashantpaikray@gmail.com

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Update from POSCO Pratirodh Sangam Samiti (PPSS) as on November 2, 2011

Dear Friends,

Today, Wednesday, 2nd November 2011, the Police DIG, Mr D.S.Kute visited our area to plan for the next day’s forceful invasion into our area. Mr. Kute, was the officer who ruthlessly oppressed the Kalinganagar movement against the Tatas. The police are planning to enter into our area along with 400-500 strongmen for the construction of a coastal road.

The people – men, women and children will definitely oppose any such invasion by these persons and the armed police. The protest will be conducted in a democratic and peaceful way.

Please put pressure on the CM of Odisha and alert all people who could influence the state to prevent such an eventuality. We request all media friends, human rights organization and pro-people political groups to move in to action.

In Solidarity,
Prashant Paikaray
Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti
Mobile no – 09437571547
prashantpaikray@gmail.com

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Update from POSCO Pratirodh Sangam Samiti (PPSS) as on November 1, 2011

Dear Friends,

We earnestly appeal to all of you to send your immediate protest letter to the government of Odisha regarding its recent decision to start the construction of coastal road from Paradeep to our village for POSCO. We fear that over 400–500 henchmen of POSCO followed by police forces might forcibly enter into our area. From media reports, it may construe that they can attack on or before 3rd of November 2011. On 30th October 2011, our villagers have decided to intensify the protest if the Government goes ahead with land acquisition and construction of the coastal road.

On 27th of October 2011, the Chief Secretary of Odisha Mr. B.K Patnaik said in the media that he had asked POSCO authorities to begin work on the acquired land. Of the 4,000 and odd acres of land required by the company, the state government claims to have acquired 2,000 acres and hence POSCO could start work over this land.

In this regard, Mr. Priyabrat Patnaik, Chief Managing Director of Industrial Development Corporation of Odisha (IDCO) held a meeting with the Jagatsinghpur district officials on 28th of October, 2011.

As you all know that the government’s move to allow POSCO to start work in the area is completely illegal as the MOU has lapsed more than a year back. Opposition parties including Congress and BJP opposed Orissa government’s move to invite POSCO-India to begin work on the acquired land even before a fresh MoU was signed.

At this critical juncture, we appeal to all concerned citizens activists, intellectuals and media friends to extend their support and put consistent pressure on the government to stop the forcible eviction of the people. Our villagers in a meeting in Dhinkia also have resolved to oppose any move by the state. We know Priyabrata Pattnaik as an officer with criminal credential and can do anything to harm us and help the project. Any intervention from your side will be of help to us.

We shall inform you the further developments here.

Kindly circulate this mail widely.

In Solidarity,
Prashant Paikaray
Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti
Mobile No: 09437571547
Email: prashantpaikray@gmail.com

Please Write and Call:

1.Mr. Shri Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India, Prime Minister’s Office, Room number 152, South Block, New Delhi, Fax: + 91 11 2301 6857; manmohan@sansad.in

2. Mr. P. Chidambaram, Union Minister of Home Affairs, Ministry of Home Affairs, 104-107 North Block, New Delhi 110 001 India, Fax: +91 11 2309 2979 / 23094221 E.mail hm@nic.in

3. Justice K. G. Balakrishnan, Chairperson, National Human Rights Commission of India, Faridkot House, Copernicus Marg, New Delhi 110 001, Fax: +91 11 2334 0016, Fax No. 23384863 Email: chairnhrc@nic.in ; covdnhrc@nic.in, ionhrc@nic.in

4. Naveen Patnaik, Chief Minister, Odisha, Fax 0674-2535100 E. mail cmo@ori.nic.in

5. Mr. S. K. Patnayak, Chief Secretary, Government of Odhisa, FAX: 0674 – 2536660 e.mail csori@ori.nic.in

6. Mr. Narayan Chandra Jena, District Collectior, Jagatsinghpur, Contact number +919437038401 Fax No : +916724220299

7. Mr. Debadutta Singh, Superintendent of Police, Mobile No- +919437094678, dmjsp@ori.nic.in

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Update from POSCO Pratirodh Sangam Samiti (PPSS) as on October 17, 2011

Dear Friends,

Our villagers are continuing daily protest at Govindpur village boarder. We people are in alert to prohibit any forceful entry of POSCO henchmen into our villages in the name of construction of coastal road. We are attaching herewith the video of 26th September incident where the goons were threatening and beating our villagers. The video is prepared by Saravanan Karunanidhi and Nandakumar from Chennai.

Videos:
1. Goons with arms against the democratic dharna in the proposed site of POSCO steel plant on 26 Sep 2011 in Dinkia village, Odisha.

2. Goons attacking villagers in proposed POSCO site

3. Abhay Sahoo’s Interview: Part 1Part 2

We are also attaching herewith the response of POSCO to the “Business and Human Rights” website for your information. POSCO-India describes our people are illegal occupants, encroachers in our land. We are staying in our land for generations now and a foreign company can speak this language to us-that we are foreign in our land. This is how the companies are pampered by the state and central governments in this country. This is an example how the corporate bodies behaves the citizens of this country. We are preparing a counter response to POSCO. We are also requesting to send large counter response to POSCO. Let the international community knows what the truth behind it is.

We shall inform you the further developments here. Kindly circulate this mail widely.

In solidarity,
Prashant Paikary
Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti
Mobile No: 09437571547
Email: prashantpaikray@gmail.com

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Update from POSCO Pratirodh Sangam Samiti (PPSS) as on September 29, 2011

Dear Friends,

Thank you very much for your immediate response to our last update.

A day after the private goons attacked our people, on 27th September 2011, more than 3000 villagers dug up the main entry point of Dhinkia village from the coast side to prevent the contractors and their henchmen from building the road for facilitating POSCO project. Our villagers have erected bamboo gate at the proposed construction site to debar entry of the government officials, company staff and contractors. We are determined to stall any attempt to build the coastal road.

You may clearly understand that police in a clear nexus with ruling party leaders and contractors to trample people’s democratic movement against the steel project. Everything was done at the behest of the civil and police administration. The police had prior knowledge about the planned attack on the people. The police were not far away from where the incident took place but they remained silent as anti-socials went about beating us.

On 27th September 2011, Ms. Satyabati Swain (age – 55, w/o – Late Narendra Swain) and Ms. Anita Sharma (age – 35), residents of Govindpur village of Dhinkia Panchayat went to file FIRs at Kujang Police Station. Instead of accepting the F.I.R, Mr. Gupteswar Bhoi, I.I.C. humiliated both of them by abusing in filthy language. He has detained Ms. Satyabati Swain in lieu of showing old false cases. The complaint of Ms. Anita Sharma was accepted but the IIC is attempting to get away the name of the main culprits of the incident Mr. Pravat Nandi (owner of Paradeep Paribahan) and Mr. Bapi Circle.

At this juncture, we are requesting you to call the following authorities and write to NHRC, NCW and other human rights bodies showing the police brutalities against our villagers.

Attaching herewith the photographs of the 26th incident for your information.

We shall inform you the further developments here. Kindly circulate this mail widely.

In Solidarity,
Prashant Paikaray
Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti
Mobile No: 09437571547
Email: prashantpaikray@gmail.com

Please Call:

1. Mr. Narayan Chandra Jena,
District Collectior, Jagatsinghpur,
Mobile No: +919437038401
Fax: +916724220299

2. Mr. Debadutta Singh,
Superintendent of Police
Mobile No: +919437094678
Email: dmjsp@ori.nic.in

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Update from POSCO Pratirodh Sangam Samiti (PPSS) as on September 19, 2011

Dear Friends,

Over twenty seven lakh people in Orissa are continuing to reel under the impact of devastating floods. According to the government sources, the death toll in the deluge mounted to 38, 16 people have gone missing in floods and many are homeless. Though water level is continuing to recede still villages of Jagatsinghpur, Puri, Cuttack, Kendrapara continue to remain marooned. Even the villages of Kujang block here are facing a tough time. Villagers are asking for immediate relief, provision of government work and payment of wages in a transparent manner.

At this high time, instead of providing relief materials to the villagers, the district administration has resumed the felling rich forest category trees for the establishment of POSCO. They include thick casuarina trees, which are natural shield against the cyclones. In 1999, when the super cyclone struck there was not a single casualty from the villages here with the trees protecting the people from the killer winds.

With the tree felling the vulnerability of people to killer cyclones has increased. People are now scared as to who will save them incase of cyclone whch is quite reccuent in our area. More than 60,000 trees have already been cut down and nearly six lakh more trees are to go. Against this mindless tree cutting exercise, people came to protect trees but the police thrashed them away. People are protesting against carrying out the project work which is going on ‘without people’s consent’. On 9th of September, the police has arrested seven villagers for erecting of bamboo gates at Nuagaon and Gadakujang to prevent entry of POSCO and IDCO officials.

The irony is that, the Revenue and Disaster management minister Surya Naryan Patra is making a statement in the media that “This is no complaint from my disaster management department about any threat of disaster due to cutting off of the trees,” The Paradip additional district magistrate Surjeet Das is making a propaganda that “Work at the proposed Posco site was continuing smoothly. There is no tension in the area and no police force had been deployed,”.

You may well understand the hurry with which the administration is going ahead with the massive tree cutting exercise for POSCO projects when villagers are facing a tough time due to the flood. This is also when two PILs are being heard in the High Court on private and forest land acquisition for POSCO project. It may be reminded that the MoU between the company and the government has already expired before more a year.

Meanwhile, in anticipation of forcible removal from our land, our villagers are continuing the dharana at Govindpur village and maintaining strict vigil in the area. We are requesting all of you to protest this callous and insensitive attitude of state administration of using force to crush the democratic movements and cutting the massive trees by inviting impending environment disaster.

We shall inform you the further developments here.

Kindly circulate this mail widely.

In Solidarity,
Prashant Paikaray
Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti
Mobile no: 09437571547
Email: prashantpaikray@gmail.com

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Update from POSCO Pratirodh Sangam Samiti (PPSS) as on September 4, 2011

Dear Friends,

Our villagers are continuing the protest against forceful land acquisition process for settling up POSCO steel plant at the Govindpur Village boarder. In the adjacent village Nuagaon also, around 100 villagers are sitting on daily basis in protest against the forceful land acquisition process. Meanwhile the government is carrying out tree cutting activities at Nuagoan village. The government is targeting to cut over 6,00,000 trees which include about three lakh casuarina and many horticultural plants.

On 22st August 2011, Mr. Abhina Rout, PPSS leader of Nuagoan village and Mr. Sadashiva Das, state committee member of SUCI (Communist) was arrested. They were put under some false charges and sent to Kujang jail. We request you to kindly condemn this unwarranted arrest of our leaders.

On 26th of August 2011, we organized a convention at our dhrana place on the draft National Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation And Resettlement Bill. As you know the Union ministry of Rural Development has sought public opinion on this. The anti-displacement struggle groups and civil society members across Odisha like social activist Prafulla Samantara, Lingaraj of Samajwadi Janaparishad, Pradeep Purohit of Gandhamardan Surakshya Samiti and former legislator Bijay Nayak participated in the discussion and express their solidarity with our movement.

They have emphasized the need for a joint struggle by all the struggle groups opposing land acquisition for industries in different parts of the State to oppose acquisition of agricultural land and forest land that were being used by the locals as source of livelihoods. It was also decided that Padyatras would be taken out from different places in this month to culminate in a massive rally in our villages to oppose land acquisition for the project.

In the convention it was demanded that:

1. The Land Acquisition Act, 1894 that was in force till date has become obsolete. Hence it should be immediately scrapped.

2. The proposed land acquisition law should have provisions to prohibit acquisition of agricultural land as well as forest land that was the source of livelihood for the local communities.

3. Agricultural land that had been acquired for different industries in the past but had not utilised for the purpose so far should be restored to the original owners.

4. Land acquired for different projects by use of force should be restored to the original owners.

5. No industrial infrastructure should come up on fertile agriculture land or any land providing a mode of livelihood to people.

6. People should consent and should be taken into confidence before they are displaced to accommodate either government or private projects. Through Palli sabha (village body), their consent has to be ratified. People depend on single crop for livelihood. Such sing crop pattern land should be kept away from the gamut of industrial land acquisition.

We are attaching herewith a report on the children’s voice of protest in the proposed POSCO area for your information. We shall inform you the further developments here.

Kindly circulate this mail widely.

In Solidarity,
Prashant Paikaray
Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti
Mobile no: 09437571547
Email: prashantpaikray@gmail.com

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Update from POSCO Pratirodh Sangam Samiti (PPSS) as on August 21, 2011

Dear Friends,

Our roadblock against the setting up the POSCO steel plant is continuing at Gobindpur village boarder. Another protest by Bhitamati Suraksha Samiti in Nuagaon village is also continued. The people at Gadakujang village erected a bamboo gate to prevent entry of officials and have stalled the construction and tree-felling operation who were earlier staunch supporters of the steel project.

Recently, the government is making new tricks to enter into our area. The government is planning to laid a coastal road from Paradip (nearest town) to our villages. On 19th of August the government has laid the foundation for road construction. On 20th of August, around 400 people including the contractor and workers were proceeding to the site during the day; our people protested the move and chased them away. We held a public meeting to oppose the laying of the road. Our people are determined not to allow the construction of the road.

We will let you know the future developments here. Kindly circulate this mail widely.

In Solidarity,

Prashant Paikaray
Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti
Mobile no: 09437571547
Email: prashantpaikray@gmail.com

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Please Condemn the Decision of SEC not to hold Panchayat Election in Dhinkia Gram Panchayat (August 12, 2011)

Dear Friends,

On 10th August 2011, under the chairmanship of State Election Commissioner (SEC), Odisha, Mr. Ajit Tripathy, a preparatory meeting with the delegation of all the political parties was held for forthcoming three-tier Panchayat election in Odisha to be held in 2012. In the meeting, a decision was taken by the Election Commissioner to conduct three-tire election in Odisha except for the Gram Panchayat of Dhinkia Panachayat (representatives for Block and Zilla Panchayt elections will be held in the panchayat). Except the ruling Biju Janata Dal of Odisha, all other political parties raised the objection of this biased decision. However, the Election Commissioner didn’t pay any heed to their demand. The reasons shown by the Election Commissioner was: “the five year election period is yet to be finish as the last Panchayat election was held at Dhinkia on May 2009. As the Sarpanch of Dhinkia Panchayat has been suspended by the government, the matter is sub-judices”.

We strongly condemn the dirty tricks played by the state establishment. Firstly, they have illegally suspended the elected Sarapanch of Dhinkia village, Secondly, they declared the Palli Sabha (Village Council) is illegal but didn’t convene the fresh Palli sabha to listen the people’s voice and thirdly, they have now influenced the (so called) independent State Election Commission not to hold any election in our villages. Here lies the dishonesty. This exposes the real intention of the government to curtail the genuine people’s voices at panchayat level. Because the government knows clearly that once our people have their elected Sarapanch, they will claim rights over forest land by holding Palli Sabha. This will again create hindrance for the government to hand over our land to the proposed POSCO steel plant. This is the clear case of throttling the genuine people’s voices. Their effort is to undermine the legitimacy of people for the land and resources under forest rights. In other words, people’s effort for self determination and self governance are completely disregarded.

At this juncture, we appeal to all of you to write letters to the Chief Minister of Odisha and concerned authorities to immediately reinstate the suspended Dhinkia Sarapanch, Mr. Sishir Mahapatra and to State Election Commission to hold Gram Panchayat election.

Kindly circulate this mail widely.

In Solidarity,
Prashant Paikaray
Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti
Mobile no – 09437571547
E -Mail- prashantpaikray@gmail.com

Please send your letter to the following addresses :
1. Ajit Kumar Tripathy,
State Election Commissioner, Bhubaneswar, Orissa
Phone – 0674-2573426, Fax – 0674-2536645, E-Mail: ceo_orissa@eci.gov.in

2. Mr. Naveen Patnaik
Chief Minister, Odisha
Tel. No.(O) +91 674 2531500, Epbax 2163
Fax No: +916742535100 E Mail: cmo@ori.nic.in

3. Mr. Murali Chandrakanta Bhanadare,
Governor of Odisha,
Fax No: +91916742536582

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Update from POSCO Pratirodh Sangam Samiti (PPSS) as on August 10, 2011

Dear Friends,

Our villagers are continuing the human chains in Gobindapur and Nuagaon to prevent the entry of officials into the area. Our people are hell bent not to give an inch of our land to establish a steel plant by POSCO.

On 7th of August 2011, Ms. Aruna Roy, Nikhil Dey, and Bhramachari Behera of Mazdoor Kishan Shakti Sanghtan (MKSS) visited our area to show solidarity with us.  Ms. Aruna Roy said that “The government has no right to forcefully acquire fertile lands in these areas. The way the ministry of environment and forest dithered on Posco, ignoring the Saxena and Meena Gupta reports submitted by its own expert groups, clearly shows that the decision was taken under pressure from the Prime Minister’s office,” Roy said. “In all fairness, I believe that the Prime Minister should order an independent inquiry. The state government to stop construction and tree felling works for the proposed steel plant of POSCO.  On 8th of August, Mr. Charan Ramdash,  aged about 78, a retired army officer  joined with our movement. The district administration of Jagatsinghpur is engaged in chopping the rich forest and horticultural type trees despite of peoples’ protests at Nuagoan village.  More then 50,000 have already been cut down by the government. The government is targeting to cut more than eight lakh trees. As you know there is no proper MoU and the POSCO project is uncertain, this massive tree cutting exercise in this cyclone prone area will only bring an environment disaster.

We request all the concerned citizens to univocally protest against the tree cutting activities.

In Solidarity,

Prashant Paikaray
Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti
Mobile no – 09437571547
E -Mail-  prashantpaikray@gmail.com

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Update from POSCO Pratirodh Sangam Samiti (PPSS) as on August 1, 2011

Dear Friends,

Everyday, more than 400 villagers of Dhinkia and Govindpur villages are sitting rotationally and continuing their protest against the forceful acquisition of their land for establishing POSCO plant  at Govindpur village boarder in Jagatsinghpur distirct of Odisha. On 27th July 2011, around 500 villagers of Dhinkia and Govindpur burnt an effigy of South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak at Gobindpur village border. The protest was meant against the shameless request of the South Korean President’s to the President of India Pratibha Patil for expediting the POSCO project.

As you know, we have been opposing the establishment of the steel plant for past six years, it is completely wrong and unethical on the part of South Korea president Lee Myung-Bak to  seek Indian government’s cooperation for establishing POSCO in Odisha. It is none of the South Korean government’s business whether the people of India will allow POSCO project on their land or not. It has clearly exhibited the insecurity of the POSCO; therefore it is using the South Korean government for establishing the plant. This shows that the President of South Korea is dancing to the tune of POSCO and act like corporate mafia for a private company despite being the head of a
democratic country like South Korea.

A three-member of team of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights led by its member Dr Yogeswar Dubey on July 4, 2011 had visited the proposed POSCO steel plant site  and made an on-the-spot investigation. Their report states that “the children think that they are protecting the interest of their families which is contrary to the allegations that children are being coerced to participate in the agitation. The anxiety / apprehension on account of the prospect of displacement and loss of the source of livelihood for their families, has been apparently affecting the minds of the children. It appears to be a factor behind such conduct by the children.”

The report has slammed the Orissa government over its failure to provide mid-day meals to school children and poor administration of ICDS programmes in the proposed POSCO project areas while justifying the protest of children. The report also criticised the forcible occupation of a part of the Balitutha primary school building by the police, saying the school gave an appearance of being a fortress. “The primary school and the Anganwadi-centre located inside its premises have not been properly functioning due to continued presence of the police force due to the limited space within the school compound. We found some policemen in the school in underwears. The district level officers of the W&CD and School & Mass Education Departments never took any remedial steps to ensure proper functioning of the school and the Anganwadi centre,” the Commission said, adding that provisions in the Right to Free & Compulsory Education Rules have been violated in allowing using the school building as accommodation for police force.

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on 27th of July 2011 issued notice to the Chief Secretary and Director General Police of Odisha on the use of school premises as police camps to ensure safe land acquisition for the POSCO. Taking suo moto cognizance of the media reports on the issue the NHRC expressed concern over the issue and asked the Government, Chief Secretary and DGP to a give separate reports within four weeks.

From 23rd of July 2011 onwards, in presence of 15 platoons of police force, the government has started indiscriminate tree cutting exercise in Polang and Gadakujang village of Nuagaon. Till today, 10,000 – 12,000 numbers of rich forest category trees were cut down. More than eight lakh tree like casuarinas, Jackfruit, Cashew nut and Mango groves, which have been a protective cover during the natural disasters through out the ages will cut down. According to a report of the forest department, more than 2, 90,000 Casuarinas trees are found in this area comprising three panchayats. Besides, around five lakh trees are including cashew nut, Jackfruit and Mango dotting the area. Despite this particular area being vulnerable to the cyclones; the government is mindlessly cutting the trees where there in valid MoU.

It’s very uncertain if actually POSCO will materialse, still then cutting trees in these magnitude is tantamount to digging our own grave. We are earnestly requesting you to strongly condemn and mount heavy pressure on the government to desist from tree cutting.

Kindly circulate this mail widely.

In Solidarity,
Prashant Paikaray
Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti
Mobile no – 09437571547
E -Mail-  prashantpaikray@gmail.com

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Update from POSCO Pratirodh Sangam Samiti (PPSS) as on July 18, 2011

Dear Friends,

Around 2000 villagers of Dhinkia and Govindpur village are continuing their road block against the forceful land acquisition for the POSCO project at the Govindpur village boarder. Members of political parties CPI( ML) New democracy , members of different people’s organization like Niyamagiri Surashkhya Parishad, Azadi Bachao Andolan and other conscious citizens across the nations are visiting to the protest site and showing their solidarity with us.

On 16th of July 2011, more than 200 people, particularly womenfolk, who are the members of Sanghaipai Mathsahi village forest committee and land losers at Polang village were sitting on dharna site at Nuagaon demanding compensation and rehabilitation and keeping a watch on the forest near Mathasahi to save it from being cleaned by the officials.

Instead of hearing their demands, the police resorted to lathicharge on this peaceful protesters. As a result, eight persons including six women were injured in the incident. One woman was seriously injured in the police action and was undergoing treatment at the government hospital at Kujanga.We are attaching herewith the photographs of the incidence for your information.

The members of these committees and aggrieved land losers held meetings and reaffirmed their resolve to oppose the Posco project and stop forcible cutting down of trees till all their demands are fulfilled. We are requesting you to condemn this police atrocities against the villagers.

On 14th- 15th of July 2011, twenty five leading people’s movement forum and civil society organizations of the country organized a satyagrah at Bhubaneswar to show their solidarity for the affected villagers of the proposed project. On 15th of July 2011, hundreds of anti-Posco activists arrested when they were marching towards the chief minister’s residence, demanding scarping of the proposed mega steel project immediately by the Orissa Govt and later on released.

We shall let you know the developments here. Kindly circulate this mail widely.

In solidarity,
Prashant Paikary
Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti
Mobile No: 09437571547
Email: prashantpaikray@gmail.com

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Update from POSCO Pratirodh Sangam Samiti (PPSS) as on June 27, 2011

Dear Friends,

Around 3 PM today, the police again gone back from the protest site. However our people are in high alert. The police may again come back tomorrow. In the morning, the administration re-deployed hundreds of policemen and staged a flag march near Govindpur village boarder.

Our thousands of villagers have formed a human barricade and made continuous slogan against these illegal and irresponsible behavior of the administration. Our people were determined to democratically prevent any forceful entry of officials into our areas. Our resistance to land acquisition gained further strength when Mr. Jual Oram, the state leader of BJP visited the protest site to lend his support.

Meanwhile a medical team of three doctors from Delhi Jan Hastakhep are camping in our villages Dhinkia, Govindpur which is deprived of State health care system.

On the other hand, the district administration went ahead with building the project’s boundary wall besides doing ground-levelling and tree-felling exercises in Polang, Noliasahi, Bayanalakanda and Nuagaon villages. Today, for the second consecutive day, hundreds of people of Pro-Posco United Action Committee (UAC), rushed to the site and prevented officials from continuing work. The UAC people say that the govt. is yet to fulfill the promises it made to them but starting the work without taking them into confidence.

On 26th June 2011, Mr. Sandeep Pandey, Magsaysay Award winner joined our protest. Addressing our villagers, he said “People have been building up their lives on this land for generations so they have the right to protest. The setting up of industry should not be at the cost of larger public interest. People here are leading decent life through multi-crop cultivation, betel vines growing and fisheries. The steel project would in no way compensate the loss of livelihood resources of the displaced villagers. Without the consent of the villagers, how can the government acquire land? It is gross human rights violation.” Informing that the MoEF has violated the law and its own orders, he said the forest land acquisition was a violation of the Forest Rights Act. He also questioned the decision to establish a new port apart from the existing Paradip port saying, “It will affect environment and take away the livelihood of thousands more, so Posco port should be stopped.” Our children enacted street plays wearing the masks of Manmohan Singh and Jairam Ramesh at the agitation site in Gobindpur village.

Today, the writ petitions were listed before the high court of Odisha. However the court matter did not reach for hearing today as well. The matter is now posted for tomorrow.

We will keep updating you with the latest developments. Kindly circulate this mail widely.

In solidarity,
Prashant Paikray
Spokesperson, POSCO Protirodh Sangram Samiti
Mobile No: 09437571547
Email: <prashantpaikray@gmail.com>

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Update from POSCO Pratirodh Sangam Samiti (PPSS) as on June 24, 2011

Dear Friends,

Today, the Communist party of India is observing black day nationwide in protest against the forceful acquisition of land for POSCO. On 23rd June 2011, the noted environmentalist Vandana Shiva joined our protest meeting at Govindpur to show solidarity with us. On 22nd June 2011, more than 2000 people observed Black Day on the sixth anniversary of the MoU signing between the state government and the company. It is a black day for us as the state government agreed to set up a steel plant on our betel vines and agricultural fields. As you may know that Orissa government is preparing to renew its MoU with Posco-India, we have vowed for the sixth time to oust POSCO from the soil of Orissa. Our people waving black flags and wearing black ribbons round their wrists and foreheads, staged at the Dharana site. Our people had been staging 24×7 dharna at Gobindpur village. We have promised that the protest will continue till the government and the company withdraws from the area.

For the last four days, the morale of our villagers was boosted with the visits of national leaders of various people’s movement like Medha Patekar, Swami Agnivesh, PV Rajgopal, Amarnath bhai, retired judge B G Kolse Patil and the political parties like CPI, CPM, All India Forward Block, Rashtriya Janata Dal, and Samajwadi Party. CPI MP Gurudas Dasgupta, CPM MP Basudev Acharya and Forward Bloc MP Narahari Mahato visited the dharna site of the PPSS at Gobindpur and supported our resistance. A delegation from BJP and Congress also visited the site to lend their support to the protests. The parties expressed solidarity with us area and staged demonstrations here too.

Due to our continuous protest, and visits of various national and state level leaders, the Jagatsinghpur district administration temporarily suspended land acquisition. But we all need to alert that at any point of time, the government may resume the forceful acquisition of our land. Already 20 platoons of armed police force are nearby villages. 4 platoons of police and 1 platoon are at neighbouring Noliasahi village and Balitutha awaiting further orders to start a crackdown on us. Besides, 15 more platoons are waiting at school buildings of Kanaguli, Balia and Balitutha villages.

The State government has made another dirty trick to blame and delegitimize our dharna by raising the issue of the “use of children” in the protests. Our kids have every right to participate in the stir as the issue involves their very existence and future. Moreover, the children are accompanied by their parents and seniors and they are being imparted education at the dharna site. We request all of you to write the state government and various authorities to vacate the police forces in our nearby school buildings.

On 22nd June 2011, CPI deputy general secretary S Sudhakar Reddy visited Gobindpur and announced that his party would observe June 24 as Black Day in the country to protest against forcible land acquisition. On July 15, 16, 17 several leaders of people’s movement of Odisha would launch protests before Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s residence protesting the land acquisition.

The leader of Opposition in Orissa Assembly Bhupinder Singh of Congress and BJP MP Rudra Narayan Pani met Union Rural Development Minister Vilasrao Desmukh in Delhi and sought his intervention to immediately stop land acquisition at the proposed plant site. BJP Rajya Sabha MP Rudra Pany met Union Minister of Forest and Environment Jairam Ramesh and Rural Development Minister Vilas Rao Deshmukh in New Delhi and demanded that as the Bill is going to be enacted in the monsoon session of Parliament the land acquisition should be stopped. Meanwhile the government started construction of boundary wall for POSCO in Polang area under Gadakujang panchayat without tender and renewal of MOU. People associated with pro-posco United Action Committee, were seen building the boundary wall for the project.

We shall let you know the developments here.

In Solidarity,
Prashant Paikary
Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti
Mobile No: 09437571546
Email: prashantpaikray@gmail.com

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URGENT ALERT FROM POSCO PRATORODH SANGRAM SAMITI (June 24, 2011)

Dear Friends,

We are given to understand that a team led by the Chief Secretary Mr.Bijay Pattnaik who has been personally supervising the execution of the POSCO project in the absence of his friend and IDCO Chairman Priyabrata Pattnaik is meeting or has already met the Chief Minister to seek his approval for a commando type operation in Dhinkia the way the American forces did it in Pakistan to kill OSAMA. As you all know the CM Mr.Nabin Pattnaik believes too much in his bureaucracy. They have also given the responsibility of police operation to DIG Mr. DS Kute who ruthlessly oppressed the Kalinganagar movement against the Tatas. Today, the Additional district magistrate gave an interview with Kanak TV saying that we will are expecting to get the permission soon from the higher authorities.

Our men, women and children will definitely oppose any such night invasion by armed police of the state and the protest will be in the same democratic and peaceful ways, which we have continued for the last 6 years.

We shall be happy if good sense prevails on the CM and he says no to such barbaric operation. But since the rulers have sold their conscience to corporations any thing may happen. So please put pressure on the CM and please alert all people who could influence the state to take note of such a possibility. We request you to please do the needful to save Dhinkia. We are told their single target this time would be to arrest our leader Abhay Sahu and other leaders. We request all media friends, human rights organization and pro-people political groups to please get in to action. The Chief Secretary got inspired by the fact that the matter in Orissa High Court on forcible land acquisition and conversion of forest land in POSCO area got shifted to Monday next.

In Solidarity,
Prashant Paikaray
Spokes Person, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti
Mobile no – 09437571547
prashantpaikray@gmail.com

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Update from POSCO Pratirodh Sangam Samiti (PPSS) as on June 19, 2011

Dear Friends,

On 18th morning around 9 a.m., the district administration made another abortive attempt to invade Govindapur to destroy the betelvines for POSCO steel project. Despite heavy downpour, around 2000 villagers including school children, women and elderly people started assembling at Gobindpur village boarder and resumed human barricade led by children and women. Rain did not dampen the spirit of our villagers and more particularly our children were shouting non-stop “POSCO HATAO, DHINKIA BACHAO”.

With the same spirit of determination, our people continued repeated the same question which they have been raising all these years with no hope of getting an answer from the state, that, “why the governments in the centre and the state are mad after the so called biggest FDI, when we for generations to come will remain happy and prosperous because of our vibrant economy of Pan (betel), Mina (fish)and Dhan (paddy) without any such project which promises only to destroy everything around us”? We are determined not to yield an inch of the land on which we grow betel vines and other cash crops. We will continue our protest and will not allow them to enter the site. Around 10 am, the Additional District Magistrate S.K. Chaudhuri who is working like a personal assistant to local MLA declared that, ‘We again canceled the land acquisition work due to rains. The government might resume forceful acquisition of land on Monday i.e. 20th June 2011”.

Activist, Swami Agnivesh arrived in the morning to lend his support. His arrival boosted the morale of our villagers. A rally was organized by SUCI at Bhubaneswar. In a press meet, CPI-ML, Liberation, CPI-ML, New Democracy and SUCI together also threatened the state for widespread Band and agitation if the state does not withdraw forces from the area. Today, at Bhubaneswar, the state capital of Odisha, a protest meeting was jointly organized by Jan Andolan Samannwaya Manch, Odisha On 17th June 2011, a group of social activists including Retired Justice of Odisha High Court P.K. Mishra, Senior journalists Rabi Das and Activists Prafulla Samantara joined with the people’s protest at Govindpur. Mr. Prafulla Samantara raised that in the media, the government has announced that “they have received 200 applications from Govindpur village to destroy their betel vines and ready to get compensation” . It’s sheer false and misleading information. We are challenging the government to public these names. Villagers are also expressing that there is misappropriation of money occurred at destroying the beetle vines in false names. We demand an immediate inquiry to know the truth.

Despite massive deployment force, the chief minister of Odisha, Naveen Pattnaik repeatedly saying we will not do any forcible acquisition of land. However, every morning, the government is deploying massive police force in our area. For the last eleven days we have been surrounded by police from all sides. We, who include our women and children, are finding it hard to live a normal life. Our people are not able to access the nearby market to sell or supply our products for fear of being caught by police. In the past, police has indiscriminately arrested our people. Now we don’t know whom police will implicate on what charge.

We also request you to arrange a medical team to visit our area as we are not able to have access thenearby hospital in fear of arrest. The police are keeping a strict vigil on our activities. However, we are ready to face any kind of government oppression if it forcefully tries to acquire the land. At this Juncture, we are earnestly appealing all public spirited citizens to join our protest soon. We are expecting Activist Medha Patkar and environmentalist Bandana Shiva to visit our site soon. The CPI veteran Gurudas Dasgupta and CPI (M)’s leader in the Lok Sabha Basudev Acharia will join us on 21st of June. Orissa Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) president Niranjan Patnaik is scheduled to visit on June 22. A BJP team would visit on 20th June 2011.

We will let you know the developments here. Kindly circulate this mail widely.

In Solidarity,
Prashant Paikaray
Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti
Mobile – 09437571547

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Gear up to protest against the compliance report of Odisha government favoring POSCO project (April 10, 2011)

Bijay Kumar Pattnaik, the Chief Secretary (CS), Government of Odisha announced recently (9th April 2011) that the state government would submit to the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MOEF), GoI on 13th of April 2011 (Wednesday) the report assuring that there are no Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (OTFDs) in the proposed POSCO area in Jagatsingur district of the state . This was the assurance sought by the MoEF for giving final clearance to the project. The CS also claimed that the state government has properly implemented Forest Rights Act 2006 in the area, which will form a part of this report.

We have all the proofs and evidences showing that we have been living here for generations and depending on the forest land for our livelihood and there are Other Traditional Forest Dwellers present in the area. Two statutory committees constituted by the MoEF i.e. N C Saxena committee and Ms. Meena Gupta Committee found out clear violation of Forest Rights Act 2006 in the area and recommended the withdrawal of phase-I forest and environmental clearance given to the project. Three Gram Sabhas of the area have passed resolutions opposing the project in our area. Despite our opposition and documentary evidences, the state government is making an brazen attempt to cover up facts and file report in favour of POSCO. It has also closed its eyes on the serious damage the project would cause on ecology and environment including the destruction of coast line and endangered species like Olive Ridleys.

We are determined to fight against any attempt towards forceful acquisition of our land for handing over to the company. We will organise a mass meeting in our area on 15th of April 2011 in protest against the fabricated and illegal compliance report and burn the copy of it in public. At this juncture, we call for our friends and supporters to urgently plan for writing protest letters and organize protest meeting, rallies, dharanas in your areas simultaneously. You can share with us ideas to make the protest effective to expose the state government and build pressure on the central and state government to scrap the project.

Kindly circulate the appeal widely.

In Solidarity,
Prashant Paikray
Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti
Mobile No: 09437571547