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POSCO going the Nandigram way?

Posted by Indian Vanguard on November 27, 2007

Ten people were killed in clashes between pro-POSCO and anti-POSCO villagers.

PROTEST ON: Ten people were killed in clashes between pro-POSCO and anti-POSCO villagers.

Bhubaneswar: In Orissa, battles continue to rage on between pro-POSCO and anti-POSCO activists. The latest clashes have left many people dead. But the state government continues to be wary of sending in police to crack down on the violence.

They are the warring camps of Jagatsinghpur. Villagers from the same district in Orissa with very different opinions on the proposed POSCO steel plant. And their battle is getting bloody.

Ten people were killed in clashes between pro-POSCO and anti-POSCO villagers on Sunday. Two of them are critically wounded. And both sides say the fighting will only get worse.

POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti Chairman Abhaya Sahoo said, “I warn the government to soon stop initiating this indirect war by using local anti social elements against us. Otherwise it will soon take the turn of another Kalinganagar and Nandigram like violence.”

While pro-POSCO supporter Raghunath Sarangi says, “POSCO will give employment to our children. These outsiders are unnecessarily creating trouble here. We will throw them out and will allow POSCO to be established here.”

Villagers against the South Korean steel plant say the Orissa government has been instigating villagers through its local political leaders for a month now urging them to speak out for the Rs 51,000 crore project.

Supporters of the plant have come together under local BJD MLA Damodar Rout. But the state government is doing little to guard against violence. Police have not entered the disputed site for over two years.

Steel and Mines Minister Padmanabh Behera says, “Soon the POSCO supporters will outnumber the people who are opposing the steel plant and the problem will automatically end. We are not sending police there since that might lead to more violence.”

From the reactions of the Orissa government it seems, that the recent violence at the POSCO site is just not enough to initiate any police action.

Perhaps they are waiting for another Nandigram to happen before any action could be taken.


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