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Rashmi Ranjan

Amid the protests, violence and tension over the proposed JSW steel plant project, the residents of Dhinkia Gram Panchayat under Ersama Block of Jagatsinghpur district are set to cast their votes during the fifth and final phase of the three-tire Panchayat election on Thursday.

The otherwise sleepy village witnessed rounds of violent clashes between police and locals over the proposed JSW project which continued till last Saturday.

In view of law and order situation, the polling booths for the six wards in Dhinkia have been shifted to the negibouring Trilochanpur, Patana and Mahala, where around 2200 voters will exercise their franchise.

While three polling booths have been set up at Patana, Trilochanpur and Mahala have two and one booth, respectively.

The district administration has urged the voters, who have been opposing the move to shift the polling booth to nearby villages, to cast their votes without creating any law and order situation.

Notably, candidates from different parties and residents of Dhinkia Gram Panchayat had opposed the move to shift polling booths from the area to nearby villages.

The locals had said that if the district administration claims there was no unrest in Dhinkia, polling booths should not be shifted to the nearby villages.

Meanwhile, the Orissa High Court on Wednesday directed the five-member court-appointed committee, which had earlier visited the violence-hit village to probe allegations of police atrocities, to conduct public hearing in the village. 

As per an earlier direction of the HC, the committee, comprising lawyers, had visited Dhinkia which was on the boil in January after police baton-charged betel farmers who protested a drive to evict betel vineyards to pave way for the proposed JSW steel plant.

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