Oppn demands discussion on Posco violence

Bhubaneswar: The Speaker repeatedly adjourned the Odisha assembly today as pandemonium prevailed with opposition Congress and BJP demanding a special discussion on the law and order situation with reference to yesterday`s violence outside POSCO`s proposed plant site area near Paradip.

While the Congress moved a notice for an adjournment motion debate over the law and order situation, Speaker Pradip Kumar Amat rejected it saying that the house could not take up a debate in view of some other urgent business. Unhappy over the Speaker`s denial to take up the motion, the Congress members rushed to well of the house demanding a special discussion on the matter.

"How can any other matter become so urgent for the house other than yesterday`s violence near Posco site where one person was killed," asked Congress Chiefwhip Prasad Harichandan terming the December 14 violence as "state-sponsored." Besides Congress and BJP members, two prominent and senior members of the ruling BJD who hail from Paradip area were also in favour of a discussion on the violence near Posco site, Harichandan pointed out.

"This is an urgent matter as one contractor had taken law into his hand and created panic in Posco area. There is no law and order in Paradip region," Harichandan said. Leader of opposition Bhupinder Singh of Congress sought a clarification from the chief minister as to how the coastal road project was being implemented for Posco whose MoU with the government had already expired one-and-half year ago.

Alleging that the government was hand-in-gloves with Posco, the leader of opposition raised question on Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik`s slogan of `peaceful industrialisation.` Party MLA S S Saluja wanted to know about Bapi Sharkel, the contractor engaged by the IDCO (Industrial Infrastracture Development Corporation).

BJP legislature party leader K V Singhdeo asked the government not to forget Kalinga Nagar violence where 14 tribals were gunned down for an industry. "When ever government uses force for a project, such incidents take place," Singhdeo said adding that the administration should take a middle path instead of using force against the people opposing projects. NCP Legislature Party leader Amar Satpathy alleged that the private contractor had raised a militia in Paradip area and fomenting violence. "I demand a discussion on the matter," he said.

Jagstsinghpur MLA Bishnu Charan Das wanted to konw how the state-owned IDCO gave costal road project woek to a contractor having bad record. "The police did not register FIR against Sharkel three days ago over an incident," Das alleged. Paradip MLA and former minister Damodar Rout said, "had the coastal road work be given to local people, there would not have been any violence."