10 years after, tribals pay homage to 14 killed in Kalinganagar firing

Jajpur: ‘Sahid Smruti Divas’ was celebrated in Kalinganagar on Saturday to mark 10 years of the police firing upon local people opposing Tata Steel’s plant in the industrial hub in which 14, including 13 tribals, lost their lives.

A rally led by members of the ‘Visthapan Virodhi Jan Manch’ and participated by displaced people’s groups from different parts of the State marched towards ‘Birbhumi’ where the 2006 police firing victims were cremated. The members of the displaced people’s groups paid floral tributes to the departed souls and lauded their sacrifices.

Notably, on January 2, 2006, the face-off between police and tribals ensued when the later opposed the construction of the boundary wall of the Tata Steel’s plant.

Speaking to media persons, the Manch secretary Rabindra Jarika said, “You must be aware of the programmes undertaken against the people. We have been opposing such illegal activities. If a company puts people into trouble like this, we will definitely oppose it in coming days.”

The district administration had put tight security arrangements in place keeping the celebrations in mind. A total of seven platoons of police force, 18 officers and two magistrates were deployed at the spot to avoid any untoward incident.

Elaborating on the security measures, PK Sahani, a police officer stated, “A total of seven platoons of forces have been deployed. Besides, two DSPs, 20 officers, three inspectors supervised security measures at the spot. The security arrangement is fully geared to face any kind of situation.”

Meanwhile, Tata Steel MD T.V. Narendran informed the media in Jamshedpur that the Kalinganagar plant in Jajpur district will be fully operational by March this year.

The plant’s blast furnace will be operational in February and subsequently production will begin in a span of 15 days, he added.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had inaugurated the steel plant on November 18. In the first phase, the plant will produce three million tonne of steel per annum.