MAC: Mines and Communities

Anti-Posco heat on forest dept

Published by MAC on 2006-09-15

Anti-Posco heat on forest dept

Statesman News Service, JAGATSINGHPUR

15th September 2006

Groups opposed to the impending displacement caused by Posco steel plant project yesterday waylaid and manhandled forest officers who had visited the site to conduct survey and identification work.

The forest department officers led by the divisional forest officer, Mr AK Jena, were stopped by the anti-Posco activists near a temple and detained them for four hours.

The agitated mob alleged that the forest officers were acting at the behest of the steel company. "The action is in line with our vow not to allow any government vehicle or official to enter the villages," said the anti-Posco group.

The forest officials were to visit Gadakujang, Noliashai and Govindapur and identify forest lands which fall within the proposed steel plant project site.

Forest officials alleged that they had been robbed of a digital camera, two mobile phones and cash. The mob ransacked the vehicle also, they added. Forest ranger Mr Ranjan Das has lodged a complaint with the police against Basudev Khanudal of Naugaon village and six others in this connection. Till date, revenue and police officers of the district have been maintaining a safe distance from the core area and stronghold of anti-Posco activists. There have been instances of revenue and police officials being detained and assaulted.

The basic land survey work for the plant has been a non-starter till date and is long overdue.

A couple of days ago, activists of Naba Nirman Samiti and Rastriy Yuba Sangthan led by Biswajeet Ray and Akhya Kumar demonstrated before the All India Radio, Cuttack, demanding that Posco-related advertisements be stopped.

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