Children, women join anti-Posco agitation in Odisha

Paradip: The anti-Posco agitation in Odisha's Jagatsinghpur district took a new turn today with children and women joining the stir for the first time in two years as the government prepared to resume land acquisition in the proposed plant site.
Over 2,000 school going children, college students and women joined a sit-in at Balitikira of Gobindpur gram panchayat organised by Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS), a CPI-backed body opposing the South Korean steel major since it inked a MoU with the state government in 2005.
The Odisha government has been planning acquisition of 700 acres in Gobindpur gram panchayat area to begin the Posco project work. "We have already arranged 2000 acres of land for the purpose. Rest 700 acres will be acquired from Gobindpur area," said Jagatsinghpur collector S K Mallick.
He cautioned PPSS against using children as shield in the agitation. "This is illegal. The government will take action as per the law," he said.
Rejecting allegation that force was used for the land acquisition, he said farmers were ready to give their land, but for the opposition by a handful of agitators.
"We have people's support," Mallick claimed.
CPI MP Prabodh Panda from West Bengal launched the dharna and urged Naveen Patnaik government to withdraw force from the area.
"No government has been successful in taking farmers land forcibly. Nandigram and Singur incidents should be taken as instances," Panda said.
Land acquisition work for the project had been kept on hold for nearly a year due to the agitation. Nearly six months ago the project ran afresh into rough weather due to environmental non-clearance by the Green Tribunal.