barricades are up again at Posco site

February 3rd, 2011 - 12:17 am ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, Feb 2 (IANS) The activists of an anti-displacement group Wednesday re-erected wooden gates and barricades in Orissa to prevent officials from entering into the proposed site of South Korean steel-maker Posco, a protest leader said.The members of Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS), which has been spearheading the movement against Posco project in the coastal district of Jagatsinghpur, had earlier erected gates and barricades in about eight places after the Orissa government signed a deal with Posco for the project in 2005.

The barricades were removed in July last year for the visit of experts and government officials to probe allegations related to various violations, including tribal and forest right acts, by the project.

“As the environment ministry has cleared the project, the villagers were forced to re-erect them,” PPSS spokesperson Prasant Paikray told IANS.

“Only government and Posco officials will not be allowed to enter into the site,” he said, adding that others will not be prevented.

“Residents, including women and children, are patrolling near the gate day and night from today (Wednesday). This will continue until the project is scrapped,” he said.

Posco’s venture is an integrated steel, mining and port project and separate clearances had to be given to all three. It also comprises a captive power plant to provide electricity to the steel plant. The environment ministry Monday gave conditional clearance to the project, the biggest Foreign Direct Investment in the country.

It has imposed 28 additional conditions as part of the environmental clearance for the steel-cum-captive power plant and 32 conditions are imposed while according environmental clearance to the captive minor port in the state.

Thousands of villagers have been opposing the project, saying it will displace them from their homeland and ruin their betel leaf farms. The villagers earlier held rallies and meeting at the project site Tuesday.

Posco had signed a deal with the Orissa government 22, June 2005 to set up the project near the port town of Paradip, some 100 km from state capital Bhubaneswar, by 2016 with an investment of about $12 billion.

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