Posco staff taken hostage

Updated on May 12, 2007 03:00 AM IST

Three officials of S Korean steel major Posco-India were allegedly taken captive in Jagatsinghpur district by activists of the PPSS, reports Soumyajit Pattnaik.

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HT Image
None | BySoumyajit Pattnaik, Bhubaneswar

Three officials of South Korean steel major Posco-India were on Friday allegedly taken captive in Gobindpur village of Dhinkia panchayat in Jagatsinghpur district by activists of the Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS).

Villagers also damaged the vehicle of the officials.

The vehicle had three passengers and a driver. The three held captive were identified as Rojalin Parida, Debasis Swain and Pranabananda Das. Parida and the driver were later released.

PPSS Chairman Abhaya Sahu told HT: “Three persons entered our area despite our opposition. They will be released only after Posco gives us a written guarantee that no representative of the South Korean company will again enter Dhinkia, Gadakujang and Nuagaon panchayats of Jagatsinghpur district.”

These are the areas where 4,004 acres have been earmarked for the proposed $12 billion (Rs 49,200 crore) steel project, the biggest foreign direct investment in India.

Sasank Pattnaik, senior public relations manager of Posco, told HT: “We are ascertaining their identities. The woman certainly belongs to Posco and she has been released as per our information.”

Posco-India has been asked by the state government to start direct negotiations with project-affected people for acquisition of private land. The officials’ visit was part of the process to start these negotiations.

Sources said the visits had begun in the last couple of days without any police protection. Suresh Mohapatra, central range revenue divisional commissioner told HT: “The district administration was probably not informed about this visit.”

Posco officials are making a final attempt to mend fences with PPSS, which had put up roadblocks in Dhinkia panchayat. Earlier, a Posco spokesperson said the company would go for alternative options if they cannot prevail upon people to accept the rehabilitation packages.

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