Posco: Civil disobedience agitation from tomorrow

Bhubaneswar: Accusing the Orissa government of resorting to forcible land acquisition for Posco steel project in Jagatsinghpur district, five political parties have decided to stage civil disobedience agitation here tomorrow.

Leaders of CPI, CPI-M, Forward Bloc, RJD and Samajwadi Party at a meeting alleged that the state government used force to acquire land from the residents of the three gram panchayats under Ersama block near Paradip.

"Though Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had earlier promised not to use force for land acquisition, the police on Friday assaulted people unwilling to hand over their betel vines for the steel project," said CPI state secretary Dibakar Nayak.

Around 4,000 families had been earning their livelihood by undertaking cultivation on forest land in Ersama block for generations, the five parties said in a joint statement accusing Orissa government of violating provisions of Forest Rights Act, 2006 and setting aside interest of farmers for Posco project.

Demanding shifting of the proposed plant site from fertile land of the three gram panchayats, they pointed out that earlier Indian Oil Corporation`s (IOC) oil refinery project was relocated to Paradip from Dhinkia area.

Similarly, the proposed Posco project should also be set up elsewhere, they demanded.

Defending villagers identified as "encroachers" by the state government for undertaking cultivation on government land generations, they said the villagers have rights over the land on which they have been cultivating for generations.

In protest against government`s move and alleged use of force for land acquisition, the workers of the five parties would start civil disobedience agitation near the state secretariat tomorrow, they said.