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Posco, critics on collision course

Special Correspondent

People facing displacement urged to attend rally

BHUBANESWAR: Even as the State government has completed survey work for the Posco steel project and the South Korean company is preparing to perform the groundbreaking ceremony on April 1, Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti has said it will organise a Vikalp Vikash Samabesh that day to oppose the foundation-laying.

President of the Sangram Samiti Abhaya Sahu on Tuesday issued an appeal to those opposing displacement to attend the rally to raise their voice against ‘company raj, forcible land acquisition and establishment of foreign territories in the name of industrial development.’

The Posco-India authorities want to perform the groundbreaking ceremony on April 1 as it happens to be the foundation day of their parent company Posco as well as Orissa Formation Day.

“We are firm on our programme and the groundbreaking ceremony will be held as per schedule,” a company official said.

On the contrary, Mr. Sahu said the Samabesh would be held at Balitutha locality, close to the area earmarked for the 12-million tonne capacity steel project, and those attending the rally would sing Bande Utkal Janani, the State song of Orissa.

Plea to Left parties

Blaming the Naveen Patnaik Government for acquiring land for the steel project by displacing hundreds of families, Mr. Sahu appealed to the secular, Left and democratic political parties, progressive mass organisations and those opposing displacement due to industries to join the Samabesh to support the anti-displacement agitation being spearheaded by the Sangram Samiti.

As per the survey carried out by the administration, a total of 613 families would be displaced by the proposed steel project. Besides, 1,506 betel vines and 32 prawn gheries would be affected by the project.

Though the survey covered several villages under Nuagaon, Gadakujanga and Dhinkia gram panchayats, the survey did not cover Dhinkia village, the nerve centre of the agitation against the project since November last year.

The agitation had shifted to Dhinkia village after anti-Posco activists were attacked by hundreds of villagers supporting the project on November 29.

A large number of policemen were deployed in the area after the incident. Survey work was also carried out in the villages concerned with the help of the police.

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