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Archive for the ‘Posco’ Category

Posco block for ‘outsider’ Medha

Posted by Indian Vanguard on December 12, 2007


Bhubaneswar, Dec. 11: Villagers supporting the Posco project today stopped Medha Patkar from entering the area, saying a state should solve its matters without the “interference of outsiders”.

The activist was denied entry into Nuagaon, one of the villages that will be affected by the South Korean company’s project.

Villagers holding placards that read “We want peace, we want Posco — Medha go back” sat on a dharna to prevent her from entering.

“I want a peaceful solution, too,” said the leader, who was allowed in only after police intervened.

Tamil Pradhan, who led the group that stopped Medha, said the villagers had been “requested to maintain discipline and not to encourage outsiders”.

Earlier, the project supporters had asked residents not to speak to Medha when she visited the villages.

Eyewitnesses said a drummer was sent around warning that the family of the person found speaking to her would be fined Rs 5,000.

Undeterred, Medha, escorted by the police, did talk to the villagers but the fear did not go away.

A Medha supporter and convener of the Rashtriya Yuva Sangathan, Biswajit Ray, said a villager who had agreed to put up Medha later changed his mind fearing attacks on his house. In the past, the villagers had even dined with the activist.

She later left for an undisclosed destination. “One could see fear (of the pro-Posco group) on their faces,” she said.


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Anti-Posco agitators plans Statewide agitation on Dec 12

Posted by Indian Vanguard on December 10, 2007

Bhubaneswar: Anti-Posco activists and mass movements struggling against displacement, SEZs and anti-people industrialisation in Orissa has demanded that the South Korean steel company POSCO quit the country. In order to highlight their demands these organisations will organise agitations in different parts of the State in a synchronised manner on December 12, they said.

The activists who visited the trouble-torn POSCO project site said in a statement that the attack on the villagers opposing the steel venture at Balitutha locality in Erasama Block of Jagatsinghpur district on November 29 had added strength to the movement against the project.

The team that visited the POSCO project area comprised Lingaraj of Samajbadi Janparishad; Bansidhar Parida of CPI(ML) Liberation; Saroj of Paschim Orissa Krushak Sangathan Samanwaya Samiti; Bhagaban Majhi of Prakrutika Sampad Surakhya Parishad, Kashipur; Rabishankar of Gandhamardan Surakhya Andolan; Rajendra Sadangi of Loka Pakhya; and Lingaraj Azad of Niyamgiri Surakhya Samiti, Lanjigarh.

They also announced to participate in all state-level agitation programmes at the call of POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti, the organisation that is spearheading the agitation against the steel project in Jagatsinghpur


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Repression in name of Posco protection?

Posted by Indian Vanguard on December 9, 2007

Statesman News Service

BHUBANESWAR, Dec 8: Former speaker of Lok Sabha Mr Rabi Ray and a host of eminent social activists, including Mr BD Sharma and Mr KN Pandit today, decried the state-sponsored repression taking place in villages falling under the proposed Posco steel plant site in Jagatsinghpur district.

Dhinkia village, which is the stronghold of a peoples resistance movement against the project, is now under virtual siege with goons and police guarding all entry and exit points, charged Mr Sharma after visiting the spot. Entry and exist are completely controlled by the police who work in tandem with hired people, charged Mr Sharma.

The objective is to seal and cut off Dhinkia, there is a virtual economic blockade and people of Dhinkia village are holed in for one week now, they said. The villagers are determined to lay down their lives fighting to protect their land.

Mr Sharma demanded immediate withdrawal of police force, arrest of all hired goons and a judicial probe to the incidents of violence that had taken place since 29 November. He pointed out that everybody including the district administration was unaware of the rights of owners of erstwhile forest land.

They can no longer be termed as encroachers, he said. A Nandigram like situation has developed with the government out to terrorise people and snatch their land, said Mr Pandit.

Posco-India, a subsidiary of South Korea steel major Posco, today announced merit scholarships for students from poor families that are being displaced due to its construction activities. Yesterday, the company’s TJ Park Foundation, a non-profit welfare organisation awarded merit scholarships to 29 students from various educational institutions in Orissa. The foundation is funded and supported by Posco.

The Statesman

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Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti ups the ante on Posco stir

Posted by Indian Vanguard on December 8, 2007

JAGATSINGHPUR, Dec. 7: Holed up in Dhinkia for over a week, fearing assault by hired goons and police arrest, the Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) has drawn the attention of the civil society and human rights activists. Fact finding teams are making a beeline to the area. The Nava Nirman Samiti and other organisations, who have been opposing the project in a more Gandhian manner, declared that they would launch a satyagraha in front of the collectorate from 14 December.

In Bhubaneswar, several sarvodaya workers and freedom fighters submitted a memorandum to the Governor, after expressing solidarity with NNS. Tomorrow the former Lok Sabha Speaker, Mr Rabi Ray, Mr BD Sharma and others are expected to apprise the media about their findings.

The plight of the women and the children in Dhinkia is said to be pathetic. They are living in fear. Prices of commodities have sky rocketed. They are afraid to go out of the village due to police deployment and the presence of goons whohurled bombs and attacked them at Balitutha bridge on 29 November. The anti Posco activists have blocked the road to Dhinkia to prevent police entry. Sources said that the condition of 10 persons injured in clash on 29 November, is bad. They cannot avail of treatment.

The daily wage earners who used to go to Paradip, Kujang and other nearby places on a daily basis are without jobs. The chairman of PPSS, Mr Abahya Sahoo, alleged that essential commodities are not reaching the village. Meanwhile, the convener of Bharat Jan Anodalon, Mr BD Sharma and his team, which visited the village today said that the moral of the people is high and they are determined to carry on their struggle. District authorities informed that PDS supply has not been disrupted. Last month’s quota had been given. They said that disruption in communication have caused problems. n sns

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Govt denies entry to Posco’s site

Posted by Indian Vanguard on December 7, 2007

BHUBANESWAR: Tension mounted in Kujang area near Paradip on Wednesday when a group of anti-Posco activists were denied permission to hold a hunger strike at Balitutha, the venue of last Thursday’s clash where 17 people were injured, official sources said.

Police said that it denied permission to the activists of Nav Nirman Samiti (NNS) in view of the prevailing situation. NNS was one of the bodies opposed to the Posco project.

This apart, the police also did not allow a delegation of the displacement leaders led by former bureaucrat B D Sharma to enter Dhinkia village, considered as the epicentre of the anti-project movement. Sharma had to return from mid-way in the face of opposition from the project supporters.

Sharma later alleged that the police did not help him when a group of people identifying themselves as project supporters prevented them from visiting the area.

Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) president who was holed up at Dhinkia village ever since the clash between the two groups, told that the government was trying to hide things happening at the proposed plant site.

He along with a number of Left parties and civil right bodies demanded for immediate withdrawal of police from Dhinkia village.

“We did not allow them to sit at Balitutha as prohibitory order under section 144 of CrPC was imposed in the area last night,” said Jagatsinghpur Collector P K Meherda.

Times of India

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Letter about POSCO

Posted by Indian Vanguard on December 6, 2007

Published by Dilip D’Souza at 11:09 am under Paradip, Regarding Nandigram 2007

Many of us have been watching the developing situation in Paradip, Orissa, alarmed that it has worrying parallels to Nandigram. Here is a letter that has just been sent to the Chief Minister of Orissa, Naveen Patnaik, signed by several people.

Open Letter to Chief Minister, Orissa

Dear Navneen Patnaik ji,

We, the concerned citizens, representatives of people’s movements, and organisations from Mumbai, bring to your notice the violence and terror in the Paradeep region of Orissa in order to aquire land for POSCO without the consent of large number of people in the area.

News reports and reporting from individuals from Orissa on the developments related to the handing over of land to POSCO of S. Korea, indicates that there is a scenario developing a way similar to Nandigram. The conflict between the factions of the farmers and fisher folk in the Paradeep region seems to be facilitated by vested interests, including few belonging to State administration. This news brings to the fore, once again, a politic that is submissive to the corporate powers who are waiting to vacate the land and habitats at the cost of people and their livelihoods..

We strongly condemn the brutal and heinous attack on the peaceful protest by POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti at Jagatsingpur in Orissa on Thursday, November 29th in which at least 17 people were injured when supporters of a local MLA, armed with lethal weapons and crude bombs attacked the members of anti-POSCO group near the proposed site for the steel plant. The attackers threw about 6 bombs at the agitators; many were critically injured. The police and the district administration intervened only after the clashes took place.

We are shocked with the attitude and action of the 16 platoons of police force who have cordoned off village Dhinkia where at least 1000 villagers are trapped. We condemn the terror-like scenario created at Jagatsingpur and the violence meted out on the peaceful protesters just to give a red carpet welcome to corporates like POSCO. POSCO has a notorious reputation of marshling police who jailed and beat striking union members – one to death in its home country South Korea . .

We the people’s movements, common citizens and non- governmental organisations demand immediate restoration of peace and want you to :

  • Intervene and prevent violence in a peaceful manner,
  • Initiate a dialogue with people’s organizations, even those questioning the project and proposing alternatives
  • Stop the terror and violence. Punish the erring police personnel for not preventing the violence leashed upon the peaceful protestors on November 29th.
  • Stop POSCO Project and find and an amicable solution keeping in the center the interest of marginalized people: adivasis, fisher people, small farmers specially women and children.
  • Without securing the prior informed consent of the people affected by the project – adivasis, fisherfolk, small farmers, women and children, POSCO should not be allowed to set their company on their lands.

Looking forward to your response and a positive action towards safeguarding people’s right to life and livelihoods.

Yours Sincerely,

1. Simpreet Singh, Ghar Banao Ghar Bachao Andolan & NAPM
2. Sandhya Gokhle, Forum Against Opression of Women
3. Sanjay M.G., National Alliance of People’s Movements
4. Ulka Mahajan, Sarvhara Jan Andolan
5. Deepika D’souza, Human Rights Law Network
6. P. Jehangir, Narmada Bachao Andolan
7. Sushobhan Dhar, Radical Politics
8 Sukla Sen, EKTA (Committee for Communal Amity)
9 Kishan Garodia, Sadbhawana Sangh
10 Harsh, Combat Law
11 Sheikh Hussain, Rashtriya Yuva Sanghatan
12 Nandita Shah, Akshara
13 Sunanda kalushte, Maharashtra Sarvodya Mandal
14 Mohan Chauhan, Shahar Vikas Manch
15 Daniel Mazgoankar, Mumbai Sarvodya Friendship Centre
16 Jagdish khairalia, Asuraksit Majdoor karagar Union
17 P.K. Das, Niwara Hakk
18 Jalindhar Adsule, Awas Adhikar Sanyukt Kruti Samiti
19 Datta Iswalkar, Girini Kamgar Sangharsh Samiti
20 N.D,. Koli, National Fish Workers Forum
21. Sachin, Suvarna, Shabnam, Dhanu, Jyoti, Chanda, Jayashree, Kashipur Solidarity Group Mumbai
22 Anand Patwardhan, Film Maker
23 Mukta srivastava, National Alliance of People’s Movements

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POSCO: Fighting Fire With Fire

Posted by Indian Vanguard on December 6, 2007

12.05.07 | By Shlok Vaidya | Comment?

Last week, a peaceful protest by the anti-POSCO PPSS was attacked by a 100-person strong crowd of armed villagers. Molotov cocktails and farming equipment were used to harass and injure the protesters.

Scared of Naxalite penetration, state law enforcement troops were deployed to ostensibly keep the peace but government leaders make no secret of their support of the violence:

“Thursday’s violence would be the last clash there. Now the anti-POSCO people will not dare to raise their voice. This has proved that they are a minority there and most of the local people want POSCO for their development,” says Orissa’s Commerce and Transport Secretary Priyabrata Patnaik.

This commitment has since been solidified by pro-POSCO villagers even as police were at the scene:

  • A delegation of activists were prevented from even approaching the village at the center of the conflict. They were harassed and forced to return.
  • Anti-POSCO activists were denied permission to conduct a a hunger strike at the location of the violence of last week then driven out.

The PPSS reacted by arming themselves and conducting a public parade. The organization is armed with:

  • 30 firearms.
  • 50-60 crude bombs.
  • Bows, arrows and knives.

This is the problem with the controlled chaos approach: control over chaos is rarely retained by anyone, much less the government. The result is a protracted, dirty conflict along tribal/ethnic/economic lines. This instability prevents foreign investment and development from taking hold.

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Posco site turns into a war zone

Posted by Indian Vanguard on December 5, 2007

Sampad Mahapatra

Tuesday, December 4, 2007 (Bhubaneswar)

The Posco battle is getting uglier by the day. The anti-Posco protestors, who had to retreat from the checkgate they had erected to prevent the entry of police and company officials following an armed attack by Posco supporters on Thursday, have now taken a belligerent stand.

Posco site turns into a war zone

On Sunday, the protestors held a rally in Dhinkia, the stronghold of the anti-displacement agitation to announce their decision to take to arms if there is any forced eviction.

”We have been peaceful so far but after the attack we will take up arms. Let there be bloodshed. We are ready to face the challenge,” said a local resident of Dhinkia Village.

The protestors are preparing for a final showdown with whatever weapons they can possibly lay their hands on. And they do not just expect an attack from the Posco supporters, but even the police or private militia as was the case on Thursday.

”The government should not try to play the game with the blood of the common people who are resisting Posco. Bloodshed will invite bloodshed. Violence will invite violence,” said Abhay Sahu, Chairman, Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti.

The state government seems to be in a catch-22 situation. After the Kalinga Nagar massacre in 2006, it is unwilling to use the police and it cannot openly use private militia.

However, 500 armed policemen have been deployed in the area and the village has been cordoned off. But it isn’t clear about how it can pave the way for Posco’s plans to start construction by the 1st April, 2009

”The project is getting delayed because of some mischievous people. Everything was on course until now but some mischief mongers have created problems. We are trying to sort things out,” said Padmanabh Behera, Minister, Steel & Mines, Orissa.

Mega projects in Orissa are facing serious challenges from local people being displaced.

There have been fresh incidents of violence in Kalinga Nagar and the protestors in Kalahandi have asked Vedanta to leave or face serious consequences.

Surely, the state government has to find a way out of the impasse or else the much-hyped industrial boom in Orissa will have few takers.


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Anti-Posco group begins weapons training at base

Posted by Indian Vanguard on December 4, 2007

HUBANESWAR: Villagers opposed to the Posco project on Sunday started a weapons training programme at their base and made clear their intention to even take up arms to prevent land acquisition for the South Korean company.

This coincided with the demand of four Left parties — CPI, CPM, CPI-ML and Forward Bloc that the government should hold a dialogue with those resisting the project as well as political parties, instead of trying to suppress protests with force.

The anti-Posco group, which had suffered a setback following Thursday’s clashes with the project supporters, attempted to revive its agitation by training its men to use lathis, swords, bow and arrow and other weapons.

According to sources, the anti-land grab group is even considering arms training to ward off any attack on them by the project supporters and police.

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POSCO opponents take up arms in Orissa

Posted by Indian Vanguard on December 3, 2007

POSCO opponents take up arms in Orissa

KalingaTimes Correspondent
Jagatsinghpur/Bhubaneswar, Dec 2: Coming under the banner of POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti, hundreds of villagers on Sunday participated in a procession in the area earmarked for POSCO-India’s mega steel plant project in Orissa Jagatsinghpur district.

The agitating villagers, including a sizeable number of women and children, were armed with lathis, spears, bows and arrows and other sharp weapons.

Raising slogans against the state government and the South Korean company, the villagers marched through several hamlets in Dhinkia gram panchayat and adjoining villages to show their unity and strength.

The protestors also criticised the role of the local Biju Janata Dal legislator Damodar Rout for instigating people from nearby areas to attack their men.

The march ended with a meeting where their reiterated their resolve to continue their opposition to the State government’s move to acquire land for the steel project.

Abhay Sahu, president of POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti, told presspersons at Dhinkia that the villagers were left with no other option except taking up arms in the wake of the Thursday’s attack on them by hundreds of people who claimed to be supporters of the project.

“So far the people were agitating peacefully. The Thursday’s incident has compelled them to take up arms for protecting their life, land and livelihood sources,” Sahu said.

At least 18 persons, mostly those opposing the steel mill project, were injured when a large number of people descended at Balitutha and hurled crude bombs on those sitting on a dharna against land acquisition in the area and them.

The opponents are now apprehensive about further attacks on them by the proponents of the steel project in view of the statements made by government officials that land demarcation work for the project were likely to begin shortly.

The deployment of additional platoons of police in the area has also added to their fear.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had also told reporters in Bhubaneswar on Saturday that the government wanted the project to come up as per schedule.

The company has announced to perform the ground breaking ceremony of the project on April 1 next.

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