Cong condemns forcible entry of police at POSCO project site

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Bhubaneswar, Dec 4 (UNI) The Congress in Orissa today warned the state government not to create another ''Kalinga Nagar or Nandigram'' by forcibly displacing people from their agricultural land for the proposed mega steel plant by South Korean steel major POSCO.

In a joint statement, issued here by Pradesh Congress Committee chief Jayadev Jena and Leader of Opposition in Orissa Assembly J B Pattnaik, they held the police and administration squarely responsible for the recent attack on the innocent villagers by the hired criminals and pro-POSCO supporters.

The two Congress leaders clarified that the party was neither against the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the country nor the POSCO project but opposed such plant and SEZ status on the fertile agricultural land of the people.

Mr Jena and Mr Pattnaik said POSCO should not be allowed to set up the mega plant without resolving the four basic questions relating to the acquisition of agricultural land for SEZ, supply of water to the project from Jobra barrage and captive mining besides the captive port.

They reiterated that the POSCO plant should not be provided water from Jobra barrage through Taldanda canal without considering the adverse impact it would have on the agriculture in the area.

The farmers in the undivided Cuttack district, they cautioned, would be deprived of water for agriculture and face acute poverty if water was released from the Jobra barrage to the project.

Mr Jena and Mr Pattnaik said there was no justification in having a captive mining and captive port for the project.

POSCO,they said, could procure the raw materials from the state owned Mining Corporation and use the already existing Paradip Port for its plant. The Supreme Court guidelines for not acquiring the fertile land for SEZ should also be implemented strictly in the POSCO project.

The Congress leaders also made it clear that they would welcome the POSCO project if these basic problems were solved otherwise the party would oppose the project in the greater interest of the farmers and the people of the state.

UNI

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