Anti-Posco body warns of agitation

Paradip: With state government set to submit its report to Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) on proper implementation of Forest Rights Act-2006 (FRA), opponents of Posco on Sunday threatened statewide agitation if the BJD regime gives false assurance to the Centre.

"If the state government tells MoEF that no tribals or other traditional forest dwellers live in the proposed Posco area, we will stage demonstration at different places all over the state," anti-Posco leaders warned at a meeting near Balitutha, epi-centre of the agitation.

"We will also burn the copy of the report if false information is given in it", said Abhay Sahu of Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS).

"We will never allow Posco to set up its plant in the area", the leaders said at the meeting, attended by activists from nearby villages and from states like Chhatisgarh and Jharkhand.

Meanwhile, a similar meeting was held at Polanga under Gadakujanga panchayat, about 1.5 km from Balitutha, by the supporters of Posco plant led by Prasanta Mohapatra.

Though very few local people attended the meeting called under the banner of "Port and Plant Union", about 400 people from nearby districts joined it.

"We urge upon the people to cooperate in setting up the plant so that local youths will get employment opportunity", Mohapatra said.

Chief secretary Bijay Kumar Patnaik recently stated that the government would submit its report to MoEF shortly on the implementation of FRA.

While giving conditional clearance to the Rs 52,000 crore project on January 31, the Centre had sought written assurance from state government on implementation of FRA before signing the proposal of diversion of forest land for the mega steel plant.