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Land Acquisition Temporarily Halted At POSCO Project Area

By POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti

24 June, 2011

Dear Friends,

Today, The Communist party of India is observing black day nationwide in protest against the forceful acquisition of land for POSCO.

On 23rd June 2011, the noted environmentalist Vandana Shiva joined our protest meeting at Govindpur to show solidarity with us. On 22nd June 2011, more than 2000 people observed Black Day on the sixth anniversary of the MoU signing between the state government and the company. It is a black day for us as the state government agreed to set up a steel plant on our betel vines and agricultural fields. As you may know that Orissa government is preparing to renew its MoU with Posco-India, we have vowed for the sixth time to oust POSCO from the soil of Orissa. Our people waving black flags and wearing black ribbons round their wrists and foreheads, staged at the Dharana site. Our people had been staging 24x7 dharna at Gobindpur village. We have promised that the protest will continue till the government and the company withdraws from the area.

For the last four days, the morale of our villagers was boosted with the visits of national leaders of various people’s movement like Medha Patekar, Swami Agnivesh, PV Rajgopal, Amarnath bhai, retired judge B G Kolse Patil and the political parties like CPI, CPM, All India Forward Block, Rashtriya Janata Dal, and Samajwadi Party. CPI MP Gurudas Dasgupta, CPM MP Basudev Acharya and Forward Bloc MP Narahari Mahato visited the dharna site of the PPSS at Gobindpur and supported our resistance. A delegation from BJP and Congress also visited the site to lend their support to the protests. The parties expressed solidarity with us area and staged demonstrations here too.

Due to our continuous protest, and visits of various national and state level leaders, the Jagatsinghpur district administration temporarily suspended land acquisition. But we all need to alert that at any point of time, the government may resume the forceful acquisition of our land. Already 20 platoons of armed police force are nearby villages. 4 platoons of police and 1 platoon are at neighbouring Noliasahi village and Balitutha awaiting further orders to start a crackdown on us. Besides, 15 more platoons are waiting at school buildings of Kanaguli, Balia and Balitutha villages.

The State government has made another dirty trick to blame and delegitimize our dharna by raising the issue of the "use of children" in the protests. Our kids have every right to participate in the stir as the issue involves their very existence and future. Moreover, the children are accompanied by their parents and seniors and they are being imparted education at the dharna site. We request all of you to write the state government and various authorities to vacate the police forces in our nearby school buildings.

On 22nd June 2011, CPI deputy general secretary S Sudhakar Reddy visited Gobindpur and announced that his party would observe June 24 as Black Day in the country to protest against forcible land acquisition. On July 15, 16, 17 several leaders of people’s movement of Odisha would launch protests before Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik's residence protesting the land acquisition.

The leader of Opposition in Orissa Assembly Bhupinder Singh of Congress and BJP MP Rudra Narayan Pani met Union Rural Development Minister Vilasrao Desmukh in Delhi and sought his intervention to immediately stop land acquisition at the proposed plant site. BJP Rajya Sabha MP Rudra Pany met Union Minister of Forest and Environment Jairam Ramesh and Rural Development Minister Vilas Rao Deshmukh in New Delhi and demanded that as the Bill is going to be enacted in the monsoon session of Parliament the land acquisition should be stopped.

Meanwhile the government started construction of boundary wall for POSCO in Polang area under Gadakujang panchayat without tender and renewal of MOU. People associated with pro-posco United Action Committee, were seen building the boundary wall for the project.

We shall let you know the developments here.

In Solidarity,
Prashant Paikary

Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti

Also See

Lying Down For Justice: The POSCO Satyagraha In Pictures



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