India: People Protest Steel Project

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India: People Protest Steel Project
By: KalingaTimes
23 April 2007
 
Bhubaneswar, India- There is a clear lack of trust on the part of the people in the villages earmarked for the proposed POSCO steel project toward the local authorities since all decisions and processes in the past two years have been based on consultation between the administration, government and the company exclusive of the affected people, according to the report of a four-member independent fact finding team.

"It is clear that the situation is tense in the area if force is used to expedite land acquisition then there is a high possibility of a violent confrontation," the report warned.

"In the prevailing situation there is every possibility of a confrontation breaking out; such a confrontation could lead to violence and take the shape of civil war. Every effort should be made by all concerned to prevent such an eventuality in national interest," the team said in its recommendations.

The fact finding team comprised editor of `Mainstream’ weekly Sumit Chakravartty, Sridevi Panikkar from Delhi Solidarity Group, Bijulal from New Delhi-based Indian Social Institute and Manshi Asher from Pune-based National Centre for Advocacy Studies.

Talking to presspersons, Chakravartty and other members of the team said that the proposed steel plant project of POSCO-India should not come up against the wishes of those adversely affected by it.

A large section of the people in the villages that were to be affected by the proposed steel project were against the setting up of the venture saying that they will lose their livelihood as a fallout of the land acquisition for the project, Chakravartty said.

"Political dialogue on the concerns related to the entire project should be initiated between the people of the concerned villages and the government, in a conducive atmosphere," they recommended.

As a first step towards building such an atmosphere, police and para-military forces, currently deployed in the surrounding areas, should be withdrawn, the team observed.

Following deployment of additional police a few km away from the project, the people who facing displacement had developed a sense of fear that the authorities use may use force acquire their land by use of force, the team members said.

The team visited Jagatsinghpur on April 20 and 21 and interacted with a cross section on the people, different organisations questioning the project, leaders from various political parties and administration officials in Jagatsinghpur.

The team contacted the POSCO office in Bhubaneswar for a meeting with the concerned officials but did not receive any response.

Original at: http://www.kalingatimes.com/orissa_news/news/20070422_POSCO_project.htm#

To support the online urgent action for this case, please visit: http://petitions.aidindia.org/protest-posco/index.php

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