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Will Posco site turn into Nandigram?

business Updated: Apr 12, 2007 05:09 IST
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While 12 platoons of force, camping in Kujang, waited on Wednesday for further instructions from the police headquarters in Cuttack, anti-Posco activists—especially in Dhinkia panchayat—unanimously resolved to face any consequences without diluting their opposition to the steel project coming up in the region.

The writ of the Orissa government did not cut much ice in Dhinkia where villagers are not allowing any outsiders to enter their area without verifying the identities. Road blockades have come up at the entry and exit points of Dhinkia and adjoining villages where villagers are keeping vigil round the clock.

Abhaya Sahu, chairman of Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS), who convened a meeting at Dhinkia village on Tuesday to discuss the future course of the agitation, said: “We are prepared for the longest struggle against the biggest FDI in Indian history. There is no scope for any compromise as our positions are poles apart. We will not allow anyone to enter our area to dispossess us and we are not going to accept any rehabilitation package. We have finalised a blueprint on how to face any police action. First, the police have to face the Sishu Sangram Vahini, which comprises children of our area between the age group of 5 and 15. We have created a women volunteer force who will resist the police.”

While Posco faced the maximum resistance in Dhinkia, there were voices of moderation in Nuagaon and Gadakujang panchayats where nearly half of the people who spoke to HT evinced their interest to accept a proper rehabilitation package and move to a new place.

Tamil Pradhan of Nuagaon said he was not averse to Posco provided the company fulfils local demands. Ajit K Swain of Nuagaon said he and the youth of the locality would welcome Posco only if the South Korean company would provide at least one job to every affected family.

In Dhinkia, no one came out in support of the Posco project. Majority of the people here have flourishing betel vine cultivation. According to the Abhaya Sahu of PPSS, a standard betel vine farm fetches at least Rs 5,000 to Rs 8,000 to a family per month and it is cultivated round the year. People are thus reluctant to forego their betel vines for Posco.

The Kujang police, however, had a different tale to tell about the PPSS. Amaresh Panda, the officer-in-charge of the Kujang police station told HT, “Around 50 cases have been lodged against the anti-Posco protesters who are harassing the pro-Posco people. Most of these cases have been lodged, especially against the Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti.