No visit to Posco site villages: Naveen

Bhubaneswar, Feb 2 (PTI) Contrary to the promise madeby him about 6 months ago, Orissa Chief Minister NaveenPatnaik today ruled out his visit to the proposed Posco sitein near future, even as anti-project agitators sealed theplant area near Paradip.

Patnaik''s statement came a few hours after theanti-posco activists sealed all the six roads connecting theproposed plant site villages located in three gram panchayatsunder Ersama block in Jagatsinghpur district.

"No way in the near future," Patnaik told reporterswhile replying a question on possibility of his visit to theproposed plant site where agitators had been preventing entryof any government official, police or company personnel.

Patnaik, at a meeting with leaders of Posco PratirodhSangram Samiti (PPSS), the body opposing the project, on June13 last year, had assured that he would personally visit thearea to assess the situation at the ground level.

"The chief minister had assured us that he would visitthe villages identified for the Posco project. Patnaik''s visitwas one of our demands. But Patnaik has not visited the areaso far," said PPSS president Abhay Sahu.

The chief minister''s visit to the area was sought asmost of the agitators carried "an impression that Patnaikwould never allow the plant to come up on the fertile land,"said PPSS secretary Sisir Mohapatra who was also Sarpanch ofDhinkia gram panchayat, the place known as the epicentre ofthe anti-posco agitation.

Claiming that people in the three gram panchayat wereeconomically sound due to fertile land where farmers growbetel, cashew, paddy, drum stick and fish, Mohapatra saidthere was no point in destroying a "well developed ruraleconomy" for a foreign company. .

Patnaik, however, said he would "look into" the problems of the people agitating against the country''s biggestFDI project. "Let us see what problems they have," he said.

The chief minister said the state government would gothrough the conditions put by the ministry of environment andforest for clearing the Posco project. "Then we will see whatnext can be done," he said.

Meanwhile, the agitators guarded all the six woodengates erected by them at entry points to the villages locatedin the proposed project site.

"While women will guard the gates during day time, menare assigned the job in nights," said Sahu adding outsidersother than government officials, police and Posco staff, wouldnot face problems to enter into the villages.

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