One killed, 25 injured in clash at Posco site

Paradip: A man was killed and 25 others were injured on Wednesday in a clash between anti-Posco brigade and a private contractor over construction of a coastal road linking the steel plant site near here.

Jagatsinghpur SP S Devadutt Singh said crude bombs and other weapons were used by the clashing groups and a person, identified as Dijabar Swain (30) of Kujanga area, died in the violence.

Two others, who went missing for some time after the clash, have been found and both are safe, he said. While 15 injured belonged to Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS), the deceased and 10 others had been engaged by the contractor, police said.

No arrest had been made so far and investigation was on, Singh said adding two complaints had been received from both sides.

The clash took place a day after the contractor, awarded the road construction work by Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation, resumed work for the 10-km controversial coastal road from Mahal near IOCL refinery to the proposed Posco site with hi-tech machines after 90 days, police said.

PPSS and local villagers had been opposing the coastal road project since long.

CPI state secretary Dibakar Nayak alleged that goons of a private protection group had been used to terrorise people in the proposed Posco site and demanded the arrest of a top IIDCO official and the private contractor.

In the absence of any MoU or agreement with Posco, it was inappropriate of the government to proceed with the coastal road construction for an approach linking the proposed steel project site, he said.

Besides judicial inquiry, an all party House committee of the state assembly should visit the site and Posco should not be allowed entry into the area before completion of investigation, he said.

BJD leader and former minister Damodar Rout, who hails from the area, held IDCO and the contractor responsible for the incident and said the work should have been awarded to locals and not to an outside agency.

CPI-M leader Janardan Pati also demanded a judicial inquiry into the clash.

Leaders of Left parties said there was an attempt to give an impression that the clash took place between supporters and opponents of Posco project. But people should know that the violence was perpetrated by goons engaged by the contractor and no pro-Posco element was involved.

Steel and Mines minister Raghunath Mohanty said the state government was examining the matter and everything would be done in accordance with law.