Hundreds of college and school students have launched a protest against the proposed steel plant by South Korean steel major Posco in the region, police said on Monday.
The students from Nuagaon, Gada Kujanga and Dhinkia villages carried out processions holding placards, banners and posters on Sunday at Dhinkia - the epicentre of the anti-Posco agitation in the coastal district of Jagatsinghpur, over 100 km from state capital Bhubaneswar.
They demanded the withdrawal of the project from the area and the release of anti-Posco leader Abhaya Kumar Sahu, who was arrested on Oct 12.
”The protest was peaceful,” Arun Sahu, a police official, told IANS.
According to the police, there are over 20 criminal cases pending against Sahu, who is also a senior leader of the Communist Party of India (CPI).
Posco, the world's fourth largest steel maker, signed a deal with the Orissa government in June 2005 to build a steel plant by 2016.
However, over 20,000 people from around 15 nearby villages have opposed the project, saying it would take away their homes and livelihood.
Posco says the plant would affect only 500 families but would create thousands of jobs. The project has not made any progress because of the protest by local villagers.