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.

 

#India – Locals oppose steel plant expansion plan


By Express News Service – JAIPUR

13th April 2013 08:52 AM

Many locals including PRI members present at a public hearing on Friday objected to proposed expansion of Mideast Integrated Steels Limited (MISL) at Kalinga Nagar industrial complex area in the district.

The villagers raised objection to organising the public hearing, convened by the Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB), without prior information to them.

They alleged that it was a ploy by the company officials to ensure that villagers cannot attend it.Though around 200 people had congregated at the venue of Danagadi Bhawan under Danagadi block, only 22 of them participated in the hearing. Out of them, 17 participants opposed its expansion.

“The company has already polluted the entire area. As the nearby Gandanal, used by thousands of people, has been polluted, people residing around the plant are suffering from tuberculosis and various skin diseases. The company never provides any medical assistance to us and has never cared to improve our standard of living,” said vice-chairman of Danagadi block Sudhakar Bhanj at the meeting.

Bidyadhar Mohanty, another participant, alleged that MISL has been providing work for only six months to its workers in a year. If the company remains closed for half of the year, why should it be allowed for expansion.

Regional Officer of OSPCB Santosh Kumar Panda admitted that only 22 persons participated in the hearing.

 

Mumbai-Anti Posco Movement gains Momentum


The Mumbai Chapter of the POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) carried out a protest march from Vashi station to Odisha Bhawan in Navi Mumbai on March 12.

The agitating group of about 200 people were out with an agenda – one, to protest the killings of the three anti-Posco activists in a bomb blast in Jagatsinghpur district in Odisha on March 2, during the protests near the site of the steel plant proposed by POSCO India Pvt Ltd. POSCO India Pvt Ltd is an Indian subsidiary of Korean conglomerate POSCO. The company first came to India in the year 2005 to sign a MoU with the Odisha state government in June the same year, for construction of a $12 billion steel plant in the state. But the project never took off, owing to various environmental and ecological issues surrounding it.

According to a report in The Hindu, “Some goons hired for facilitating the setting up of the mega steel plant by POSCO India Private Limited hurled bombs at our activists. The miscreants were actually targeting Abhaya Sahoo, president of PPSS. But they did not have clear visibility in the dark. As a result, the other four died in the bombing,” alleged PPSS spokesperson Prasant Paikray. The PPSS strongly condemned this “barbaric and inhuman killing of innocent villagers” and demanded the immediate arrest of the culprits. The district administration, however, contradicted its claims”.

It has also been alleged that the state government has been carrying out forced land acquisitions from farmers and land owners in Jagatsinghpur district for making space for the steel plant project. The locals from the area earmarked for the steel plant have been opposing the project, stating that their land is fertile and is their only source of livelihood. “The land is rich  and fertile, with kaju and grain cultivation thriving there,” an activist of the PPSS said.

The activists demonstrating outside a railway station in Navi Mumbai also drafted a petition of demands to be sent to the Odisha Chief Minister via the Odisha Bhawan in Navi Mumbai.

The petition demands the following – a probe into the killings of the 3 anti-Posco activists, immediate resignation of the district collector and police commissioner of Jagatsinghpur district and scrapping of , what they call “defunct”, Posco deal in totality.

RADHIKA GANGADHAR
Mumbai

http://en.bharat4india.com/

 

#India – Widows bear brunt of Posco violence #Vaw #tribalrights #indigenous


pc courtesy- odishaviews.com

By, TNN | Mar 14, 2013

GOBINDAPUR (JAGATSINGHPUR): Their lives have been shattered and they do not know what the future holds for them. The battle between pro and anti-Posco activists has robbed them of their husbands.

While three men died recently in a bomb blast at the proposed steel plant site at Patana village within Dhinkia gram panchayat in Jagatsinghpur district, another was killed in 2008 after some persons hurled bombs at him. The three were Tarun Mandal, Manas Jena, Narahari Sahoo while Tarun’s elder brother Tapan alias Dula Mandal died earlier.

Tarun’s widow Pravati Mandal (26) of Gobindapur is left alone to take care of their two-year-old daughter. Pravati is now relying on the food items supplied by some villagers and supporters of Posco Pratirodha Sangram Samiti (PPSS).

“My daughter is suffering from fever for last five days but I am not getting medicines for her. She needs medicine and proper food,” Pravati said as her voice choked. “My daughter wakes up and cries at night on not seeing her father. My husband used to play with her in the evening after toiling in betel vine farms,” added Pravati.

Jharana Jena (28) married Manas, a betel vine farmer of Gobindapur, five years back. Like other women widowed by the ongoing violence, Jharana faces not only grave financial difficulties but also a battle to save their betel vines and lands from being acquired for the steel mill.

“After I lost my husband I have decided to take on the responsibility of our three-year-old son Sujala,” Jharana told TOI as tears welled up in her eyes. “Large number of anti-Posco villagers consider my husband as a hero. But, the hero tag holds little significance for me as I am facing an uphill task after the death of my husband,” added Jharana.

Similarly Pramila’s health has deteriorated after death of her husband Narahari, who happened to be Jharana’s father. “I have decided to fight against Posco to take revenge of my father’s death,”said Jharana.

Poverty and absence of a male member have also made life hell for Sabita Mandal (35), widow of Tapan alias Dula of Gobindapur village. Her life became a struggle after her husband, an anti-land acquisition leader, was killed June 20, 2008, in a bomb attack.

 

POSCO land acquisition halted following naked protest threat #goodnews


 

By Newzfirst Correspondent3/7/13

 

Bhubaneswar – The district administration of Jagatsingpur in Odisha on Thursday temporarily halted the forcible land acquisition process for POSCO steel project after receiving a naked protest threat from the women of Gobindpur village in Jagatsingpur district.

“On receiving information about the naked protest by village women, the district administration has stopped the land acquisition process today,” Prashant Paikray, spokesperson of POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS), told Newzfirst.

Distressed over Odisha Government’s forcible land acquisition process, women from Gobindpur village had announced on Wednesday that they would stage a naked demonstration before the Police force, and demand complete stoppage to the forcible land acquisition.

“If Government continues with the land acquisition process, our village women will also continue with the naked protest,” Paikray added.

Villagers of Jagatsingpur district have been protesting against the land acquisition for POSCO’s $12 billion steel plant since many years. The proposed steel plant, which will produce 12 million tonnes per annum, is the largest foreign investment in India.

 

Tata Steel still to pay Rs.27 crore to villagers


Wordmark of Tata Steel

Raipur, March 21 (IANS) Tata Steel, India‘s largest private sector steel major, has still to pay over Rs.27 crore compensation amount to villagers in Chhattisgarh‘s Bastar district to take over their land for setting up an integrated steel plant, the assembly was told Wednesday.

“Tata Steel is still due to make payment of Rs 27.35 crore compensation amount to the villagers. The company has so far paid Rs.42.07 crore,” Revenue Minister Dayaldas Baghel told the house.

The minister said Tata Steel would require 2,044 hectares of land for setting up the steel plant. As the proposed plant area comes in a tribal belt, the state would acquire land on behalf of company and allot it on lease.

But the compensation has to be paid by the company, the minister said.

Tata Steel, whichn inked a pact with the Chhattisgarh government in June 2005, is setting up a 5.5 million tonne per annum steel plant in Lohandiguda area in Bastar, some 340 km south of Raipur.

Baghel said the Bastar administration had acquired 1,764 hectare of land from 1,707 land holders located in 10 villages between October 2007 and February 2008.

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