Though the state government signed the MoU with POSCO India on June 22, 2005 to set up mega steel plant at an investment of Rs 52,000 crore in Jagatsinghpur district, the project could not progress due to stiff resistance from the local villagers near Paradip.
The state, however, acquired 2700 acre of land for the 8mtpa capacity steel plant by POSCO during the nine years time. PPSS president Abhay Sahu alleged that there had been systematic attempts to foil the democratic movement against Posco project by the state government. "However, we are determined to continue our fight till Posco withdraws the project, said Prashant Paikary, Spokesperson of PPSS in a press release.
He also urged the people to support their cause and observe the day as black day. Sahu said yesterday thousands of tribal communities including the Paudi Bhuiyan and Munda, gathered at Budhabhui village under the aegis of Khandadhar Suraksha Sangram Samiti (KSSS). They pledged to save the bio-rich Khandadhar from mining and vowed to lay down their lives to save their ancestral land from POSCO, Sahu added.
The head of Paudi Bhuiyan Adima Janajati, Bilua Naik administered the oath in this regard and the World Environment Day was observed as Save Khandadhar Day. The leaders of different anti-displacement movements in Odisha joined the tribals who oppose handing over Khandadhar iron ore reserve to POSCO, he said. Sahu, who spoke to Union tribal minister Jual Oram said that Khandadhar iron ore reserve comes under his constituency. "We hope Oram will come to the rescue of the local tribals of Sundergarh," PPSS president said.