Peace returns at Posco site

Peace returns at Posco site

However, the calm seems to be a temporary one as both the parties – the district administration and the local villagers who are agitating against the land acquisition – have already hardened their stands.

While Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti(PPSS) spearheading the local people’s agitation against the Rupees 52,000 crore steel mill has announced to intensify its agitation after June 17, the Jagatsinghpur district administration has given enough indications that it has no plan to abandon the land acquisition process.

It may be recalled, despite several attempts during the last one week, the district administration had not been able to step into Dhnikia panchyat, considered to be epicenter of anti-Posco agitation, in the face of fierce opposition from the angry villagers which included squatting by minor children and women. What has perhaps boosted the morale of agitating villagers and PPSS is the support from the opposition Congress, particularly union forest and environment minister, Jairam Ramesh who had earlier given a green signal to the Orissa government to go ahead with the land acquisition process.

 In a letter sent to the state government on Sunday, Ramesh asked the district officials not use force to acquire land from the villagers for the mega project. “Environment clearance does not mean you have got the license to acquire land by force”, the minister maintained in his letter.

The state unit of the Congress has already thrown its lot behind the agitating villagers. Two other senior Congress leaders from the Centre – former union minister and AICC’s Orissa in charge, Jagdish Tytler and union minister of state for fertilizer and chemicals, Srikanta Jena who is from the eastern state – have also strongly criticized the state government over the manner in which it is acquiring land from the villagers as Left parties too are backing the villagers.

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