Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, June 6:
Even as civil society organisations held a rally protested against the recommendation of the Odisha government for mining lease of Khandadhara mines to Posco India on Thursday, the Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) has decided to observe June 22, the signing of memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the South Korean entity, as Black Day.
The government had signed the MoU with Posco India on June 22, 2005 to set up Rs 52,000 crore project in Jagatsinghpur district. Even though nine years have passed since then, the project is yet to see the light of the day owing to stiff resistance of local villagers. While the company has had to downsize its project, the government is yet to hand over the acquired 2700 acre land to Posco even for the truncated project.
“For the last nine years, the Posco and the state government have employed any number of tactics to sabotage our peaceful democratic movement. It started influencing our people through declaring packages as a part of CSR, continuous atrocities on our peaceful protesters, uncalled for and illegal arrests, false police cases, unleashing a reign of terror by using private goons and so on. They want our people and solidarity groups to get tired and give up the struggle. However, we are determined to continue our fight till Posco withdraws the project,” said Prashant Paikary, Spokesperson of PPSS in a press release.
He also urged the people to support their cause and observe the day as black day.
AS the water resource department has given permission to Posco to draw water from Hansua River for construction of steel plant, Paikray informed that villagers of Hansua Bachao Sanghrash Samiti are going to organise a mass demonstration before district collectorate office at Jagatsinghpur on 21 June against this unjust and illegal declaration.
It is to be noted that thousands of tribal communities including the Paudi Bhuiyan and Munda, VTGs coming from far-flung villages under the aegis of Khandadhar Suraksha Sangram Samiti (KSSS) had gathered at village Budhabhui under Lahunipara block of Sundargarh district.
They pledged to save the bio-rich Khandadhar from mining and vowed to lay down their lives to save their ancestral land from Posco.
The leaders of various anti-displacement movements in Odisha were also joined in solidarity like Abhay Sahoo of PPSS, Parfulla Samantara, Lok Shakti Abhiyan president and Lingaraj, Western Odisha Farmers Organisations’ Coordination Committee convener. Besides, Talsara Congress MLA Prafulla Majhi and Banamali Dhupal, Secretary, CPM Sundargarh attended on behalf of its Bonai legislator Laxman Munda.