Orissa govt sends forces to acquire land for Posco project

Written by: Biswajeet Panda
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Bhubaneswar, Jun 10: There may be more violence in the offing after the Orissa government's decision to keep 20 platoons of armed police ready to move in at the proposed plant site, if the farmers' protesting against land acquisition by steel major Posco in the Jagatsinghpur district, turn violent.

Reports suggest that the forces have already reached the Dhinkia gram panchayat, despite hundreds of farmers being on guard at the village outskirts.

Posco-project, on the backburner since its inception, got a fresh lease of life when Union Minister Jairam Ramesh, gave the go-ahead for the proposed steel-plant in May 2011. This despite the farmers continued agitation against land acquisition for the project.

Naveen Patnaik, the chief minister of Orissa had in Jun 2005, inked the MoU with Posco, making it the single largest foreign investment in India.

Orissa government's decision to send in forces to tackle the agitation has expectedly been slammed by anti-Posco activists.

Ajay Sahu, an anti-Posco activist has been quoted by CNN-IBN as saying, "This is a serious violation of Forest Rights Act and the government has attempted to avoid village level consent of people and palli sabha. This is clear violation of which has been reflected in official committee reports of Meena Gupta and Saxena. Jairam Ramesh of MoS Environment and Forests had stopped work last year. Now he has given in to pressure and violated the recommendations of his committees."

Farmers, who are set to lose their land to Posco have strongly condemned the government's action and are in no mood to vacate plots for the steel-plant. Shanti Das, a farmer in the Dhinkia village has been quoted by the news channel as saying, "We do not need the government's compensation. It will get exhausted in a few years. Our livelihood is more important. Let the forces come we are ready to die for our land."

Given the sensitivities involved, there might be a major movement in the offing, may be something in the lines of the Singur protest.

OneIndia News

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