MAC: Mines and Communities

Youths oppose Posco deal

Published by MAC on 2005-10-30

Youths oppose Posco deal

Statesman News Service

Oct. 30. 2005

BHUBANESWAR, - The lull in opposition to the Posco project was broken by a group of highly motivated youths who undertook a padayatra from the villages which are to be affected by the proposed project and reached Bhubaneswar yesterday.

Coming together under the banner of Deshpremi Abhijan, the youths were backed by social activists some of whom belonged to the extreme Left parties. The padayatra had commenced on 18 October from Gdakujana village with the Nabanirmana Samiti and Yuva Bharat, CPI (ML) and others participating in it.

The youths held street side meetings against the project and covered several areas of Trilochanpur, Paradip, Kujang, Ersama, Tirtol, Jagatsinghpur and Cuttack before reaching Bhubaneswar yesterday.

What is the meaning of development - does it mean losing our life, livelihood and natural resources, they questioned. Carrying placards which read " stop the plunder of resources", "Posco Hatao, Orissa Bachao" , these youths demonstrated before the Posco office here. Leaders like Aksyaya and Sivaram addressed a gathering in front of the Posco office and alleged that the state will lose crores of rupees if the plant came up and Paradip Port would be rendered sick. "We will be robbed of our agricultural land, betel vines and homes and all we will become daily wage earners with one decimal homestead land given to us as compensation," they charged.

Contrary to the official claims that only a few thousand people would be affected by the project, the village youths said more than 20,000 will be affected. They emphasized on the environmental damage caused by such mega projects.

They burnt copies of the MoU between Posco and the state government. Later in a memorandum addressed to chief minister Mr Naveen Patnaik, the agitators demanded the immediate scrapping of the project.

It may be noted here that Posco's proposed steel plant, dedicated port and power plant project have evoked widespread protests from almost all political parities baring the Biju Janata Dal. Even the BJD's ruling partner - the BJP has expressed strong reservations against some of the provisions in the MoU. Meanwhile, the South Korean company has gone ahead with its preliminary work by registering a company in India with its headquarters here and also submitting applications for prospecting licence for iron ore bearing areas - Thakurani iron ore mines and another area in Keonjhar district.

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