The activists of the United Action Committee, a purportedly pro-Posco outfit active in the Posco steel project site near Paradip, have threatened to oppose the project if the district administration deploys police force in the ‘peace zone’ of the project area.
Terming two panchayats-Nuagaon and Gadkujang and Noliasahi village in the project site as peaceful areas with overwhelming support for the project, the UAC activists have strongly criticized the decision of the Jagatsinghpur district administration to deploy police forces at these places.
Stating that the presence of police in these areas would scare the peace-loving villagers, the UAC members threatened to intensify stir against the project if the administration went ahead with the plan.
Vice President of UAC, Nirvaya Samantray and other members including Tamil Pradhan, Anadi Rout, Sarat Swain and Saumendra Nayak said, the socio economic survey, identification of land and boundaries, panchayat elections and other welfare activities have been done in the Posco areas with the help of strong support of the local villagers.
“There is no sign of violence and assault on Posco and other district officials. Rather, we are ready to extend cooperation to expedite work on the Posco project and this obviates the need to deploy police forces in the peace zone”, said sarpanch of Gadkujang, Nakula Sahoo.
Meanwhile, the UAC has sent a message to the district administration to start discussion with the villagers on issues pertaining to the compensation package and rehabilitation of Posco affected persons.
Special Land Acquisition Officer of Paradip, Nrusingh Swain said, the district administration has received the suggestion. He confirmed that rehabilitation, compensation and other issues will be finalized with the consent of villagers and police forces have been deployed for the safety of villagers and officials.
It may be noted that 25 platoons of police forces have been deployed at Kujang and nearby areas with an intention to drive away the anti-Posco agitators who have been squatting on the Balitutha bridge, the entry point of the project site, since January 26, 2010 blocking the entry of government and Posco officials into the project area.
Protesting the police action, Posco Pratirodha Sangram Samiti (PPSS), the organization spearheading the anti-Posco movement in the state, is observing Mass Resistance Week from May 13-20 at Balitutha.
The anti-land acquisition leaders who congregated at Balituthta alleged that the state government was acquiring land forcefully with the help of forces at Dhinkia, Nuagaon and Gadkujang panchyats.
They have vowed not to allow the state government to acquire even an inch of land for the project.
Meanwhile, PPSS has sought the intervention of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Chief Justice of India S H Kapadia, Chief Minister Naveen Pattnaik and chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission to withdraw the forces in the interest of the affected villagers.