Reported by Vishwanath Kumar
Bhubaneswar, Apr 23:
The alleged violation of human rights and police excesses in the proposed Posco steel project area have grabbed the limelight yet again with the state police conducting an on-the-spot inquiry.
In the course of drive to acquire land for the controversial steel project, police had beaten up ‘unwilling’ betel vineyard owners on 28 and 29 June last year. Police action had left at least 20 landowners injured in the process.
Rights activist Radhakant Tripathy had sought the NHRC’s intervention in the matter while alleging that state government had donned the mantle of the land broker on behalf of the steel giant.
Alleging that by use of brute force and at gun point, people were dispossessed of their betel vine farms and resistance was crushed by armed policemen, the petition cited the example of the unprovoked police action onn 28 and 29 June last year.
The Jagatsinghpur SP Satyabrata Bhoi said Cuttack Additional Superintendent of Police (ASP), Krushna Prasad Samal visited to the project site on Tuesday and interacted with the people who were injured. Later, the ACP took up the matter with the police officials who were in charge of the law and order situation then.
As desired by the national rights panel, compliance report would be submitted in this regard, said district officials.
On 4 July, 2012, the district administration had managed to conclude the acquisition of 2700 acre of land required for the big-ticket steel project after several holdups and vociferous protests by the anti-Posco brigades.
Since then, the project work had made little headway with National Green Tribunal stalling the tree-cutting work in the project areas. The company had pressed into service a private construction farm for building boundary wall along the demarcated line. However people’s protest had put brakes on the work over the lastt four months.