Monday, 13 June 2011

Villagers resist Posco land acquisition drive

 The land acquisition process by the Orissa government for the Posco project in the Dhinkia gram panchayat of Jagatsinghpur district did not make any headway on Saturday following resistance by members of a five-party delegation and villagers.The gram panchayat remained a hostile region for the district administration that had in the past fortnight stepped up the land acquisition process for the steel plant.
With children and women at the forefront, villagers blocked the land acquisition teams for the second consecutive day, though the administration declared their assembly unlawful.

For five hours on Friday, women and children braved the oppressive sun and did not let the teams backed by scores of police personnel to enter the village.

Alternative route

The administration took an alternative route to woo villagers who were allegedly in favour of giving up their traditional rights to government land by receiving compensation.In fact, the land acquisition teams claimed that three villagers did accept compensation.But a majority of the villagers alleged that their betel vineyards were razed. As vineyards were being pulled down, members of five political parties, led by Jagatsinghpur MP Bibhu Prasad Tarai, staged a dharna, preventing further demolition.

“The administration's attempt to terrorise people is a violation of human rights. The State government cannot act at the behest of a multinational company to torture its own people,” said Rabi Behera, president of the State unit of the Samajwadi Party.

He said people were convinced that the project would deprive them of their livelihood options, and they did not want to part with their traditional land rights.

Process suspended

The administration announced that the land acquisition process would be suspended for four days ahead of the Raja festival.

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