#India – Appeal to observe Anti Posco Black day on 22nd JUNE 2013


 

We remember people who sacrificed their self interests for the benefit our freedom in the 66th year of Indian Independence. Sadly, during the one and a half decades of the post-globalisation era in India, our leaders are sacrificing the very purpose of the sacrifices of those who fought for freedom. India’s land, rivers, hills, seas and forests are being sold to global corporates, displacing millions of farmers, dalits, adivasis and fisher folk today, devastating this country’s environment.

The project planned by the multinational giant POSCO represents the largest  Foreign Direct Investment of this country (FDI) during the post-globalised India. The project will destroy the lives of thousands of farmers, dalits, women, children, fisher people and indigenous people.

The people’s movement against POSCO started soon after the signing of the MOU between POSCO and Odisha Government. Since then over hundred bombs have been thrown at the resisting villagers by the pro-POSCO goons and around 100 villagers have been shot by the Odisha police. Our leaders like MR. Abhay Sahoo and four others are in the jail. More than 1500 villagers and activists are facing over 250 fabricated false charges. Many villagers can not come out of their villages even for their hospitalization, due to the threat of arrests. The struggle against POSCO led by POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti is still resisting this invasion by a global capitalist giant in partnership with the Central and State Governments.

 

We believe that if the anti-POSCO movement is suppressed due to the interests of the corporations, it will affect many similar struggles in Odisha as well as rest of India. Since this SEZ project is the largest FDI investment in this country, it has to be treated as a symbol of struggle against globalization and India’s freedom.

 

Therefore, we appeal to all freedom lovers in India and all over the world to mark your resistance by responding on the day of the completion of the 8th year of signing of the MOU between POSCO and the Government, on June 22, 2013. We appeal to all activists, organizations, people’s movements and concerned individuals against globalization to express their strong protest against this corporate invasion of our lands. We appeal to groups and people’s movements working on fisher people, dalits, women, children and indigenous people to organize solidarity actions on June 22nd, since it is the lives of these very forces which are at stake. On this historical event, PPSS calls for the following actions all over India and abroad to initiate the following actions:

 

1.     Protests in your region demanding the ouster of POSCO and removal of all fabricated false cases against activists and villagers.

 

2.     Public meetings in your region condemning the threat of displacement and environmental destruction by POSCO.

 

3.     Expressions through, songs, posters, paintings, theatre, print media and internet actions against POSCO.

 

4.     Mobilise concerned sections to be part of the event in Odisha.

 

5.     Write letters to the Prime Minister of India and the Chief Minister of Odisha.

 

6.     Document the events in Odisha and elsewhere through written media as well as video for future campaigns, or

 

7.     Any other symbolic or imaginative actions you may chose.

 

We welcome all those who wish to participate in the mass rally and demonstrations at Patnahat village of Jagatsighpur district  in Odisha  on 22nd June 2013 and express their support to this historic struggle.

In Solidarity,
Prashant Paikary
Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti
Mobile no-09437571547
E-Mail – prashantpaikary@gmail.com

 

 

Odisha -Group clashes in Gobindapur over Posco


By Express News Service – PARADIP

31st May 2013 12:13 PM

Despite deployment of one platoon of police force, law and order situation worsened in Gobindapur village due to group clash on Thursday. Betel vine demolition drive for proposed Posco steel plant project was affected as tension gripped the village after clashes between two groups of Harijanshai and two youth groups.

According to sources, last week one Samir Das of the village had handed over his betel vine to the administration despite the opposition of villagers in lieu of Rs 1.13 lakh as compensation. Earlier, Das had borrowed Rs 40,000 from another villager Trinath Bhoi to erect betel vine. After Das violated the villagers’ decision, annoyed Bhoi demanded his money back. When Das refused to return the money, Bhoi forcibly tried to extract money from Das leading to clash between two groups.

Nearly 150 Dalit families of the village have been opposing boundary demarcation and trench cutting work for the project. They alleged that the administration had demolished betel vines of nearly 22 Dalit families on the promise of giving new betel vines but nothing has been given as compensation.

“The administration has forcibly acquired our land without paying any compensation. So, we have sought the intervention of the Orissa High Court and Human Rights Commission,’said the villagers.

 

Stop cutting trees for Posco plant: tribunal


Livemint

National green tribunal says large number of trees are being cut without permission of any competent authority
Neha Sethi Mail Me |  Ruchira Singh Mail Me
  
First Published: Tue, May 28 2013. 11 39 PM IST
Environmental clearance for the project was suspended by the same tribunal in March last year. Photo: Reuters<br />
Environmental clearance for the project was suspended by the same tribunal in March last year. Photo: Reuters
Updated: Tue, May 28 2013. 11 53 PM IST
New Delhi/Mumbai: The National Green Tribunal on Tuesday stepped in to stop felling of trees for the controversial Posco steel project in Orissa’s Jagatsinghpur district, posing another challenge to the South Korean company’s much-delayed $12 billion plant.
According to a report by PTI earlier this month, the state government has been able to acquire 2,630 acres of land against the initial requirement of 2,700 acres for setting up the 8 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) plant.
Environmental clearance for the project was suspended by the same tribunal in March last year.
“It is undisputed that as of today the project proponent does not have environmental clearance,” the bench headed by justice Swatanter Kumar said on Tuesday.
A petition filed by activist Prafulla Samantray brought to the tribunal’s notice the violation by the steel company in Orissa.
“It is contended before us now that large number of trees are being felled/cut by the project proponent without permission of any competent authority,” the bench’s order said.
Samantray alleged that the Orissa government was in collusion with the company and around 200,000 trees have been cut despite the suspension of the environmental clearance.
“This shows that the Orissa government is more concerned about the interests of the corporate and not the interest of its people. These trees are very important for our area as they prevent us from cyclones in the area,” he said.
The tribunal’s decision is significant as Posco was violating the earlier NGT order while felling trees in the area, said Rahul Choudhary, advocate for the petitioner.
“This talks about the company and how they are violating the law of the land. The country should make sure that they consider damage to environment because of a plant, instead of just looking at the investment that the company brings,” he said.
The tribunal added that the suspension of the environmental clearance will remain in force till an order is passed by the environment ministry based on the recommendations of a committee headed by former bureaucrat K. Roy Paul that was set up last year to look into this issue.
The South Korean company denied any violations in a posting on its website.
“Posco reiterates that it has never violated any human rights or environment norms in Orissa and also assures all its precious shareholders and stakeholders that Posco has committed itself to protect human rights through ethical practice,” the company said.
Posco India’s general manager, corporate relations, I.G. Lee, did not answer his phone or reply to a text message seeking comments.
Earlier, Lee had said the company was awaiting the handing over of 2,700 acres of land by the state government to start building its steel plant.
According to the original plan, the company needs 4,004 acres in an area with sandy soil in parts where villagers grow nuts and betel vines.
Meanwhile, an independent committee set up to safeguard Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development ethical guidelines has said that Norway’s oil fund, which has invested in Posco’s steel plant and is the largest sovereign wealth fund in the world, has no strategy for dealing with possible violations of human rights by the companies in which it invests.
The committee further said that the fund was not doing enough to protect against human rights breaches.
PTI and Reuters contributed to this story.
  
First Published: Tue, May 28

 

Green tribunal halts land acquisition for POSCO


Author(s):
Anupam Chakravartty
Issue Date:
2013-5-28

South Korean steel giant acquired 1,093 ha without waiting for environmental clearance

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) which suspended the environmental clearance to the controversial POSCO steel project in Odisha‘s Jagatsinghpur district last year, has once again stepped in to halt illegal work on the controversial project. In the past fortnight, Korean steel manufacturer POSCO, aided by state government of Odisha, acquired 2,700 acres (one acre equals 0.4 hectare) of agricultural land, including betel vines, in Jagatsinhpur district without waiting for the mandatory environmental clearance. NGT, on Tuesday, took cognisance of the violations by the steel company, which were brought to its notice through a petition filed by activist Prafulla Samantray, and asked the state government and POSCO to stall any acquisition till the environmental clearance is issued for the project. Samantaray and others stated in the petition that since POSCO does not have a valid environmental clearance, the present levelling, trench work and tree felling by the project proponent cannot be carried out.

NGT, while hearing Samantray’s petition, said that the company will not acquire any land before the dispute on the environmental clearance is resolved. NGT had suspended the environmental clearance granted to the project on March 30, last year [1]. At that time, the tribunal had asked an expert committee under the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests to review the project afresh. The committee headed by former bureaucrat K Roy Paul, in its report, sought for a complete design change of the plant [2].

While POSCO had agreed to reduce the land requirement for the project, private agricultural land was not acquired till recently because of protests by local residents. However, towards the end of April, the plant authorities aided by the state and local administration started land acquisition, leading to violence and an incident of bomb explosion, which killed four protesters http://www.downtoearth.org.in/content/bomb-kills-4-protesters-posco-stee… [3]. Paul, while submitting the report in October, had said that many important conditions with regard to the grant for fresh environmental clearance had not been fulfilled. On May 28, NGT found that important components for the grant of environmental clearance are yet to be completed, while the authorities began acquiring private agricultural land.

“The state government is yet to formulate a conversion policy for changing forest to industrial areas while it went ahead with cutting trees and destroying betel vines for the POSCO plant. The NGT’s order is a big relief for us as it has directed the state government to bring out a notification to formulate policy for the conversion of such land,” said Samantray.

International censure

On the other hand, at the international level, POSCO’s funders have been questioned for sponsoring the plant in Odisha, where several human rights violations have taken place in the name of land acquisition for the plant. On Monday, Norway’s National Contact Point (NCP) – a body that oversees the implementation Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development guidelines – has pulled up the country’s $740 billion oil fund for aiding POSCO plant. NCP said Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM), which manages the oil fund on behalf of the Norwegian government, has refused to cooperate with the OECD Contact Point in its assessment of the fund’s investments in POSCO. “NBIM has violated the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, and it lacks a strategy for identifying and handling possible violations of human rights in the companies they invest,” NCP said in a statement on Monday.

The investigation was triggered by a complaint from several organizations about the 12 million tonnes per annum capacity steel plant planned by POSCO, which will displace 20,000 people physically and leave them without any means of living. The complaint to the local OECD contact points of South Korea, Norway and Holland was made by the non-governmental organizations Lok Shakti Abhiyan in India, KTNC Watch in South Korea, Fair Green and Global Alliance in the Netherlands and Norway’s Forum for Environment and Development. These organisations have claimed the stakeholders or funders should have used their influence to prevent or mitigate the damage caused by the human rights violations during the acquisition for the plant [4].

NBIM, in a reply to the allegations stated that the bank was awaiting the conclusions of the investigations against POSCO in South Korea. NBIM replied to NCT that “the OECD guidelines do not apply to minority shareholders, and for that reason refused to give answers to our written questions,” said Hans Petter Graver, chairperson of the Norwegian Contact Point. Graver in a release said that the guidelines do apply; the question is how they apply for an investor with numerous small shareholder positions.

The Norwegian Oil Fund has a 0.9% stake in the POSCO plant; the stake is valued at US $245 million. In Holland, the Dutch pension fund ABP and its pension administrator APG March, which is one of the funders, have agreed to cooperate with the local OECD Contact Point, according to the release by National Contact Point.

 


Source URL: http://www.downtoearth.org.in/content/green-tribunal-halts-land-acquisition-posco

 

‘Will fight POSCO till last breath’



Author(s): 

Ashis Senapati
Issue Date:
2013-5-17

Kin of anti-POSCO leader killed in bomb explosion in Gobindapur village resolves to fight on

Jharana, dressed in yellow, daughter of  
slain leader Narahari Sahoo, has no means of looking after and supporting her  
familyJharana, dressed in yellow, daughter of slain leader Narahari Sahoo, has no means of looking after and supporting her familyTwenty-three-year-old Jharana Sahoo is filled with feelings of revenge. She cannot forget the sight of the mangled body of her father who died in a bomb blast on March 2 [1]. Narahari Sahoo was a leader of the anti-POSCO[2] movement at Gobindapur village in Odisha’s Jagatsinghpur district. He was killed along with three people in a blast when those promoting South Korean steel company POSCO’s steel project, hurled a crude bomb into the backyard of the house of a resident in Dhinkia gram panchayat. Dhinkia is the centre of the anti-POSCO movement.

“My father had paan (betel vine) farms. Last month, police destroyed them because he was a part of the movement,” she says. “He dreamt of making me an officer and spent Rs 2 lakh on my education at the Institute of Professional Studies and Research in Cuttack. Now, I have to shoulder the responsibility of my younger brother who is still in Class XII. My mother has taken ill after my father died. How will I arrange money for all these?”

“I will either kill the enemies or myself,” she says. Jharana has joined the Posco Pratirodhaka Sangram Samiti (PPSS) to drive the company out of the state. She blames the anti-people policies of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for her family’s plight. “He is dancing to the tune of big industrialists and is least concerned about the common people. In the coming elections, we will teach him a lesson,” she says.

“My father sacrificed his life to protect our land from the avaricious eyes of POSCO and the government. I will not allow either POSCO or the government to acquire our land,” she says. “My heart still burns with anger and anguish. I will fight them till my last breath.”

Marty's tower commemorates Tapan  
Mandal's sacrifice. He died in a similar blast in 2008Marty’s tower commemorates Tapan Mandal’s sacrifice. He died in a similar blast in 2008

The death of three anti-Posco leaders has not weakened the movement. In fact, they have strengthened PPSS because more and more people are joining it now, she says.

Families of other victims bemoan fate

Tarun Madal and Manas Jena, the two other leaders who died in the bomb attack on March 2 have also left behind families who have no one to look after them. Madal is survived by his 26-year-old wife and a two-year-old daughter. His father,  septuagenarian Narayan Mandal, lost his eldest son Tapan alias Dula Mandal in a bomb attack by pro-Posco people five years ago. On March 2, his younger son, Tarun, was also killed. “I have been spending sleepless nights for the past five years. Now fate has snatched my other son as well. Their untimely deaths haunt me all the time,” he says.

Naran Mandal who lost both his sons, Tapan and Tarun, in bomb blasts  
allegedly carried out by pro-POSCO people, is a haunted manNaran Mandal who lost both his sons, Tapan and Tarun, in bomb blasts allegedly carried out by pro-POSCO people, is a haunted man

Mandal’s sons were paan farmers. “On June 20, 2008, some pro-industry people of the village hurled bombs at the protesters. Many were injured and Tapan lost his life. To commemorate his sacrifice, people have built a martyr’s memorial in Gobindapur,” says Manorama Khatua, a PPSS leader. The martyr’s memorial is of little consolation to Tapan’s wife. “How will the industry help me and my family? If we have to leave the area where will we go with our children?” asks Sabita, Tapan’s widow.

Khema, widow of Manad Jena, cries over her lossKhema, widow of Manad Jena, cries over her loss

Khema Jena, 28, had married Manas Jena, also a paan farmer in Gobindapur, five years ago. Khema cries for her husband who will never return.

 

Protest the arrest of Anti Posco Leader Abhay Sahoo


abhaysahoo

We strongly condemn the arrest of our leader and president of PPSS Mr. Abhay Sahoo this morning i.e.  on 11thMay 2013. As you are all aware 50 cases had been filed against him at different stages of the movement and all the cases are blatantly false and fabricated. The district administration and police were after him as the movement instead of withering away under severe repression has gathered more momentum. Abhayji has been taken to Kujang jail in Jagatsinghpur district of Odisha.

We understand that this is part of a larger game plan to destabilize the movement and  force the project on our unwilling people. Earlier also Abhaya Sahoo was arrested in 2008 and was kept in jail for 14 months. Mr. Sahoo was again implicated in another false case leading to his incarceration from 25th November 2011 to 14th march 2012.

Every time when Abhayji was arrested the movement got further strengthened and our people threw up more leaders with solidarity from you all.

We have been informing you that our life has been severely disrupted since the state government signed the said project with POSCO. The police force has been using coercive measures to suppress our constitutional right to dissent. We have been peacefully resisting all types of criminal forces for more than eight  years, but ironically hundreds of cases are being lodged by the police against us. Our protesters have been murdered by bomb attacks, assaulted by hired goons and beaten by police-all done by at the behest of administration. Local authorities ignored our demands for recognition of our right to the land. Instead, armed forced were engaged to silence our voices.  Till now more than 200  false cases have been registered against our villagers by the government, 1500 warrants have issued out of which 340 are women.

Our people are unable to go out and receive treatment because of the threat of arrests. None of the cases has any basis and all are fabricated by the police to keep our people inside jail for as many days as they think by doing this they could spoil our democratic movement. The government of Odisha has been clamping false cases against anyone trying to oppose POSCO, It is matter of regret that all the actions till date by the government of Odisha against us is totally unjustified as the entire projects stands on shaky ground.

We call for all the Jan Andolans, People’s organisations, Political parties, activists, intellectuals and people at large to condemn in strongest possible terms this cowardly and undemocratic act of the administration. We appeal you all to demonstrate and demand immediate release of Abahya Sahoo. Also please lodge your protest near the following authorities.

Let me assure that our people will put up a more determined resistance and what they all need is your continuous support and solidarity.

 

 

 

Kindly forward this mail widely.

 

Hoping for Solidarity.

 

Prashant Paikaray

Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti.

Mobile no – 09437571547

E- mail- prashantpaikaray@gmail.com

 

You can call and write to the following :

1. Mr. Naveen Patnaik

Chief Minister,  Odishas

Tel. No.(O) 011 91 674 2531100,011 91 674 2535100,

011 91 674 2531500, Epbax 2163

Tel. No.(R) 011 91 674 2590299, 011 91 674 2591099,

011 91 674 2590844, 011 91 674 2591100,

Fax No- (91)6742535100

E Mail: cmo@ori.nic.in

2.  Dr. S. C. Zameer, Governor of Odisha,  Fax No-
(91)6742536582

3. Shri B K Patnaik, Chief Secretary, E-mail: csori@ori.nic.<csori@ori.nic.in>

Phone no – 0674 – 2536700

0674 – 2534300

0674 – 2322196

Fax No – 0674 – 2536660

3. S.K. Mallick , District  Collector, Jagatsinghpur, Contact number
09437038401,   Fax no – : (91)6724220299

4. Superintendent of Police, Satyabrata Bhoi, Mobile no-09437575759, 0624-
220115,  dmjsp@ori.nic.in

5. Dr Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India

Tel no-+9111-23016857

e mail: manmohan@sansad.in

6. Sonia Gandhi: Tel Phone no – (91)11-23014161, (91)11-23012656, Fax-
(91)112301865, soniagandhi@sansad.nic.in,

*7.* Chairperson, National Human Rights Commission of India, Faridkot
House, Copernicus Marg, New Delhi 110 001, Tel: +91 11 230 74448, Fax: +91
11 2334 0016, Email: chairnhrc@nic.in

8. Shri. V.Kishore Chandra Deo

Minister of Tribal Affairs

Ministry of Tribal Affairs,

Room No. 400  ‘B’ Wing, Shastri Bhawan,

New Delhi- 110001

vk.deo@sansad.nic.in

9. Smt. Jayanthi Natarajan

Minister of Environment & Forests

Ministry of Environment & Forests

Paryavaran Bhawan,

CGO Complex, Lodhi Road

New Delhi-110003

mosefgoi@nic.in

 

 

Anti-Posco leader Abhay Sahu arrested


By PTI | 11 May, 2013, abhaysahoo
READ MORE ON » tamil nadu | PPSS | POSCO | Patana village | explosion | Abhay Sahu
BHUBANESHWARAnti-Posco leader Abhay Sahu was arrested today in connection with several cases including a bomb blast in the proposed steel project site in Odisha’s Jagatsinghpur district, the police said.

“Sahu, who was to leave for Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu to attend a meeting there, was arrested from Bhubaneswar by a police team from Jagatsinghpur shortly before departure of his flight,” Deputy Superintendent of Police (Paradip), Bhabani Shankar Mishra said.

Acting on an information, the police team reached the state capital and arrested the Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) leader before taking him to Kujanga near Paradip in Jagatsinghpur district, the DSP said.

There are a total of 54 cases of different nature against Sahu, he said, adding the PPSSleader was on bail in 50 cases and the arrest was made in connection with four fresh cases involving a bomb explosion, obstruction in government work and other offences.

Claiming that he was implicated in false cases, Sahu said he was to leave for Coimbatore yesterday to attend a conference but deferred his visit as his son-in-law fell ill and was hospitalised.

Maintaining that he would continue to oppose the mega project proposed by the South Korean steel major, the PPSS leader said he was to take a flight to Chennai to attend the conference but police arrested him before his departure.

Sahu, who has been leading an agitation under the banner of PPSS against the mega steel project since 2005, had been arrested more than two years ago in connection with various offences.

He was released after obtaining bail in December 2011, police said, adding that four new cases were subsequently slapped against the anti-Posco leader.

One of the cases was related to an explosion allegedly during bomb making at Patana village in which three persons were killed on March 2, this year, police said.

Sahu would be produced before a court at Kujanga shortly, the DSP said.

 

PRESS RELEASE – Fact Finding Report- Scrap Posco Project


We are surprised to see the Supreme Court judgment on mining lease allotment to controversial POSCO Company which has made our lives miserable. At least after the welcome judgment on Niyamgiri where the Gram Sabhas have been given the authority to decide what constitutes their rights, the natives of Khadadhar area should have asked also to decide in Gram Sabha whether such a mining was needed or not. Now asking the central government to take crucial decisions will inevitably harm the interests of Tribals protected under FRA 2006 as the central government is more than favourably disposed towards POSCO. We too strongly feel that our Gram Sabhas views so clearly and so categorically resolved on October 18, 2012 must also be considered while deciding the fate of mining involving POSCO.

The peaceful demonstration is continuing at Govindpur Village against the trench cutting work for boundary wall construction for POSCO. Today more than eight hundred villagers have assembled at the site to peacefully oppose the construction work.

On 9th May 2013, with the help of eight platoons of police forces, the Jagatsinghpur administration along with IDCO and POSCO officials started the trench cutting work for boundary wall construction for POSCO. The district administration indiscriminately axed fruit bearing trees. This shows how the police and the District Collector and the Superintendent of Police in Jagatsinghpur district, Odisha, are colluding with each other to supress our opinion and to serve the interest of POSCO Company with utter disregard for the verdict of National Green Tribunal (NGT).

Our villagers held demonstrations and raised slogans against the illegal constriction of boundary wall. This is a violation of the direction passed by National green Tribunal on 31sr 2013. As a result, the police went back.

Meanwhile a seven-member-team comprising representatives of two human rights organisations made a visit to our area and released a report. The group demanded scraping of the Posco project as it was being set up in violation of guidelines laid down in the industrial policy document of the Union government.
Report is below-
DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS FORUM (DRF)

ORGANISATION FOR PROTECTION OF DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS (OPDR)

Posco Issue – A Preliminary Report by DRF & OPDR Team

A 7 member team of two human rights organisations – Orgainisation for Protection of Democratic Rights (Andhra Pradesh) and Democratic Rights Forum is in Odisha on 4,5,6 May 2013 to look into “POSCO problem”. The immediate context of the team’s visit is opening an armed Police Camp at Village Gobindapur and the subsequent reported repression.

The Team met representatives of PPSS, CPI(ML), CPI, SUCI(C) at Bhubaneswar on May 4. The team visited the villages Dhinkia, Gobindapur, Patana, Nuagaon and Gada Kujanga on 5th. The team intereacted with scores of people in those villages, especially in Dhinkia and Gobindapur. The Team had a long talk with Mr Abhoya Sahu, the President and Sisir Mahapatra, the General Secretary of “Posco Prathirodh Samgram Samithi” (PPSS) at Dhinkia village.

We have gone through various documents like i) MOUs between POSCO and Govt. of Odisha in the year 2005, ii) Forest Rights Act, 2005, iii) Judgement of Supreme Court of India CLIA 2134 OF 2007, IV) N.C.Saxena Committee Report, v) Meena Gupta Committee Report and vi) Ray Paul Committee report.

The team members observed the area is rich with Betel vine orchids, Casuarina Plantations, live paddy fields, big and small fish ponds and many water resources, domestic backyard vegetable plots, mango trees, coconut trees, etc. We rarely found poverty stricken people in the area. It is like Nandigram of West Bengal and Kakinara coast belt of A.P.

We are informed the daily wages of agriculture labour varies between Rs.200/- and 350/- per day depending upon the nature of work and the season. It is heartening to learn that the area provides work to thousands of migrant labour from far away districts like Mayurbhanj, Keojhar $ Ganjam of Odisha in paddy fields. So the economic position of the villages in which POSCO Project is proposed to be established is bountiful and all sections of people were leading a peaceful and happy life until the Salvo of POSCO is fired upon them jointly by the Government of India and Govt. of Odisha in 2005.

For the last eight years the people are restless and passing through many sleepless nights and faced severe repression and four persons paid with their dear lives. Our team visited the house of Manas Jena, a martyr of 2 March 2013 bomb blast. This family is the worst affected in 8 years long anti-posco movement Kalandi Jana, father of Manas loosing his right leg in a bomb attack by goons of POSCO, the wife of the later committing suicide and sister of martyr Manas Jana, Kuni going through severe mental depression. According to Prashant Paikray, the spokesperson of PPSS at Bhubaneswar, around 200 cases are filed against 2000 people of the anti POSCO movement.

Issues Involved :

i) The biggest issue involved, we consider, is the life and living of the pople which given top most priority in the two most crucial chapters of Constitution of India, Directive principles and Fundamental Rights.

The argument that the Directive Principles are not maintainable in a Court of Law may be anything but spacious and many a judgements of the highest Court of India testified it. But it is painful to know that none of the Committees appointed by Government of India to study POSCO related problems have not properly investigated and reported keeping in view the Directive Principles.

ii) To whom the land belongs? Much hair-split is being done by various wings of the State including higher courts. The issue is whether the land belongs to the people or Government (s). We heard from Abhay Sahu, Leader of PPSS, the Govt of Odisha did lot of hair-split and now arguing that because the land under dispute is not a forest land between 1962-65(sic) and is saying the Forest Rights Act, 2008 does not apply. We consider this is ridiculous. It is against the reports of various committees appointed by the Central Govt. also. Who existed first on earth? People or Governemnt (s)? Every sane person agree it is People.

iii) Norms of Industrialisation : The paper of Government of India on Industrialisation unambiguously states that the land under cultivation should not be diverted to industrialisation. Everyone including the entire machinery of the state knew that 99% of the land under the three Gram Panchayats is under intensive cultivation. So the law maker has become the law breaker and hence Govt. has no locus-standi to govern. People are totally justified of their revolt from ethical, judicial as well as from Bharatiya ethos stand point of view.

Present situation :

i) In the villages the team toured, we do not come across a single person who is a votary of POSCO. In Govindapur village, the people who were pro-posco and neutral joined anti posco movement very recently and the whole village unitedly demonstrated against posco and police camp on 3 March 2013. They say the experience of the people displaced by the neighbouring oil refinery shows that if POSCO become a reality, they either become beggars in various towns of the State or go away to unknown places as migrant labour in search of work. The people say neither of the two options is acceptable.

ii) State Government established an armed Police Camp of about 10 battalions in Gobindpur Village. The police regularly patrol all the villages and threatening the people not to even sit together. The people, rightfully content, the very presence of the camp is an intereference in their otherwise peaceful way of life. They rightfully demand the immediate withdrawal of Police Camp.

Perceptions of the people about the rulers :

The perception of the whole people of the area about the Governments at the State and Centre is mirrored in the words of Chandan Mohanty, one of the evictee from his land and living in the POSCO transit camp at Badagabapur village for the last six years – “POSCO is like East India Company. There is neither a State Government nor a Central Government. POSCO is the real ruler. The Indian and Odisha Governments are mere agents of POSCO.”

Appeal of the POSCO affected villages :

Now, the trio of Government of India, Govt. of Odisha and POSCO are held bent upon establishing the project at the declared place and hence once again unleashing terror against US. A very strong statewide solidarity movement is the need of the hour. Please save us and thus save the whole people of Odisha wherein the Governments are resorting to destructive industrialisation including wreck-less mining of various minerals and diverting of huge amount of water for those purposes.

DEMANDS OF THE FACT FINDING TEAM :

We demand the State Government :

i) Immediately withdraw the police camp from the village Gobindapur which is disturbing the very peaceful way of life of the people of the 8 villages.

ii) Unconditionally withdraw all the cases filed against the people and leaders who resisted the forceful act of State in favour of POSCO. Identify the agent provocateurs of the POSCO Company, arrest and prosecute. Identify the erring officials and prosecute.

iii) Pay proper compensation to the bereaved families of those people killed in bomb blasts.

iv) Constitute a comprehensive enquiry commission, consisting eminent persons from different walks of life like eminent personalities from socio-cultural field, human rights campaigners and Bar & Bench to investigate into all aspects of the issue.

v) Withdraw the suspension of the Post Master of Dhinkia Post Office, Mr Babaji Samantaray immediately and restore postal communication to Dhinkia, Govindapur, Patana etc which is an established legal and constitutional right.

vi) Repair the road to Dhinkia via Trilochanapur and via Balitutha immediately which has become unnavigable.

vii) Scrap POSCO project because it is the violation of guidelines laid down in the industrial policy document of Government of India on against established well meaning interest of the people.

An Another Human Tragedy Crying For Solution :-

52 families of village Patana under Dhinkia Panchayat were allegedly attacked by the people of other villages immediately after Panchayat elections, 2007. The victims had approached the District Administration for protection and resolution of the dispute. Instead, the administration shifted them to a place adjacent to the village Badagabapur. These people hoped that the administration would send them back safe to their natural habitat, after few days. To their utter shock and agony, the district as well as the State Administration, in spite of repeated appeals, turned a blind eye, they complained to the visiting team. In one hour non-stop narration to the team, these people detailed their distress and difficulties at the transit camp. They stated in a single voice that they oppose POSCO in to-to. They want to go back to their own houses in Patana to live with honour and dignity. They appeal to all the democratic forces of the State to help them in this regard.

The fact finding team fully appreciate their position and a just demand and appeal to all the pro people political forces of the State to intervene in the matter and to hammer out an amicable and honourable solution.

The members of the Team are :

1. C Bhaskar Rao, General Secretary, OPDR, AP, Mob: 08121743800

2. Ch Sudhakar Rao, President, OPDR, AP

3. Ravi Palur, DRF, WB, Mob: 09433031311

4. Sunil Pal, DRF, WB

5. Sankar Das, TUCI

6. Adv Bibek Ranjan, DRF, Odisha, Mob: 9437215625

7. Pramila, AIRWO

 

Tension mounts in Posco project area as villagers oppose work


 

BHUBANESWAR, May 10, 2013, The Hindu

 

 Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti activists stage a demonstration

Tension prevailed in the Posco project area in Jagatsinghpur district on Thursday as hundreds of agitated villagers came out to oppose digging of a trench for construction of a boundary wall along the land acquired for the proposed steel plant.

The digging of the trench and demarcation work was carried out by the administration at Mangalapada, Gobindpur and Patana Haat despite the people’s opposition.

Two betel vineyards were demolished and more than 150 trees were felled by the administration even as the villagers staged a demonstration under the banner of Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti demanding that the work be stopped immediately. The betel vine owners were paid compensation amount on the spot.

But the trench that the administration had dug up along the land acquired for the project was filled with mud by the villagers after the administration returned from the spot, according to Prashant Paikray, spokesperson of the Sangram Samiti.

Mr. Paikray questioned the administration’s work of digging the trench and felling of trees saying that it was illegal since the environment clearance granted for the project by the Centre in the past had been suspended by the National Green Tribunal last year. He said the administration’s move would be opposed tooth and nail again on Friday.

Administration plan

According to sources, the administration planned to complete acquisition of 2700 acres of land for Posco within a few weeks.

The company brought down its land requirement from 4004 acres to 2700 acres as the administration found it difficult to acquire land in Dhinkia village due to stiff opposition from the locals. As per its changed strategy, the company plans to establish a steel plant with an annual production capacity of eight million tons over a land of 2700 acres instead of establishing a 12 million ton per annum capacity steel mill over 4004 acres of land.

 

Posco project: Odisha to complete acquisition of 700 acres in a week


Business Standard
Jayajit Dash  |  Bhubaneswar 
 May 9, 2013 Last Updated at 17:53 IST

The state government has already acquired 2,000 acres of land for the Posco project

posco1

Moving ahead in its land acquisition spree for the Posco project, the Jagatsinghpur district administration aims to complete acquisition of 700 acres of land for the mega steel project in a week.

The state government has already acquired 2,000 acres of land for the Posco project. In the current phase of land procurement, an additional 700 acres were to be acquired.

This is necessary since Posco India had sought at least 2,700 acres of land to commence construction activity on an eight million tonne per annum (mtpa) steel mill in the first phase.

The proponent would later ramp up output to full scale 12 mtpa on receipt of its full land requirement of 4,004 acres.

“We expect to complete acquisition of 700 acres of land for the Posco project in a week. Close to 600 acres have already been acquired. Trenching work for boundary wall construction is also going on at Gobindpur”, sad Jagatsinghpur collector Satya Kumar Mallick.

Asked if protests at the project site would impede land acquisition, “The protests would not impact land acquisition activity since we hope to resolve all issues amicably through discussions.”’

Recently, the land acquisition drive for the Posco project had suffered a setback when villagers opposed the process, alleging massive irregularities in measurement of vines.

The affected people also objected to starting trench cutting necessary for commencement of boundary wall construction for the steel project.

The pro-Posco villagers alleged that the company authorities and officials of Odisha Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (Idco) have started trench cutting process for erection of boundary wall for the project without finalizing compensation, fixation of land rate, job opportunities, identification of betel vine labourers and other issues.

In a recent status note prepared on the Posco project, the state government said it has already handed over 546 acres to Posco India. An additional 1554 acres were ready to be handed over to the company.

Posco India needed 4004 acres of land in all. The land was to be acquired in eight villages- Nuagaon, Dhinkia, Noliasahi, Gobindpur, Polang, Bayanalkandha, Bhuyanpal and Jatadhar.

The state government admitted that law and order problems at the project site and delay in obtaining approval of forest diversion from the Union ministry of environment & forest (MoEF) impeded progress in project implementation.

While according approval of forest diversion for 2959 acres of forest land, MoEF did not appreciate the swapping clause of the original MoU (memorandum of understanding) signed with the steel major that expired in June 2010.

 

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