Astaranga, Jan 14:
Hundreds of families from seven villages in and around the proposed Rs 6,000 crore port by Hyderabad based Navayuga Engineering Company at Astaranga in Puri district are up arms against the project.
Around four hundred families of seven villages under Churiana panchayat on Monday took a vow at the local Gomukhi Keshab temple here to strongly oppose land acquisition for the proposed project. The villagers had gathered at the temple under the aegis of Gomukhi Keshab Surakshya Manch, which is spearheading the agitation against the proposed port project.
“We won’t part with our ancestral lands even at the cost of our lives. We won’t give our lands to the company”, said the villagers.
It may be noted that the state government had issued a notification on December 19 last year for acquiring land for the project. Following the land acquisition notification, the agitation against the proposed port project has gained momentum in Ainsinia, Anakina, Papira, Sribantapur, Kota, Taluakani and Haripur villages under Churiana panchayat.
Navayuga Engineering Company has signed a MoU with the state government for setting up a private port at Astaranga at an estimated cost of Rs 6,000 crore. The proposed port project requires 5064.965 acres of land out of which 3332.255 acres is private land owned by the locals and 1732.790 acres government land.
Fifteen villages in Nuagada, Churiana and Nagar panchayats along the Bay of Bengal south of the river Devi mouth have been identified for land acquisition.
Sources said around 5,000 people would be displaced as a consequence of the project while 25,000 fishermen will lose their livelihoods.
It may be mentioned here that construction of the proposed port was first opposed by Pirjahania Bhitamati Surakshya Manch.
Astaranga tehsildar Nirakar Nayak, however, said though notification for land acquisition had been issued by the government, he has not received any complaint from the local people on the matter so far.