Protesters to seal Posco plant site villages

Paradip: Intensifying their agitation against the South Korean steel major Posco`s proposed 12 mtpa greenfield steel plant, opponents on Tuesday decided to seal all entry points into the proposed project site villages near here.

The decision in this regard was taken at a public meeting organised by the Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS), a CPI-backed agrarian body.

"We have decided not to allow entry of any government official, Posco personnel or policemen into the proposed plant site villages from tomorrow," said PPSS president Abhay Sahu.

The PPSS protest meeting was organised a day after the Centre accorded conditional clearance for the Rs 51,000 crore steel project, the work for which remained suspended for the past five years.

PPSS got support from political parties like CPI, CPI (M), Forward Bloc, RJD and JMM. Though opposition Congress and BJP were also opposed to the project at the present location, they kept away from the today`s meeting held at Patana village, one of the demarcated areas for housing the mega steel plant.

Vowing not to allow the South Korean steel major`s project, the villagers shouted "Posco Go Back" and "Jairam Ramesh Hai Hai".

"We will prefer to die than evacuating land for Posco.

Why the project is not taken to some barren land," asked Narahari Mantri, a farmer.

Criticising Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh, PPSS secretary and sarpanch of Dhinkia gram panchayat Sisir Mohapatra said the villagers were united to fight the project.

"The villagers including women and children are ready to sacrifice their lives to protect their homeland," he said.

The people supporting the project on the other hand celebrated the conditional clearance to the project. They, however, said the United Action Committee (UAC) would extend support if the company provided a job to each affected family.

"We will certainly support the project. But it has to satisfy the affected people," said UAC leader Anadi Rout.