Clashes over road construction at Posco site, one killed

December 14th, 2011 - 7:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, Dec 14 (IANS) At least one person was killed and two injured at the site of the proposed Posco steel project in Odisha’s Jagatsinghpur district Wednesday when clashes broke out between villagers and workers over construction of a road, police said.

The incident erupted near Dhinkia village when hundreds of villagers opposed to Posco’s $12 billion project in the area did not allow workers to carry out the construction work.

There was an altercation that snowballed into a full-blown clash.

According to district superintendent of police S.S.D.D. Singh, protesters attacked the workers and hurled locally made crude bombs before fleeing. They also abducted two workers.

“One worker was killed. They (the project opponents) also abducted two other workers,” Singh told IANS.

However, anti-Posco leader Prasant Paikray said the people at the construction site first attacked the villagers with sticks and axes. They also hurled bombs.

“They were not villagers. They were goons,” Paikray told IANS, adding that at least seven villagers were injured, some of them critically.

The foundation stone for the 10 km coastal road was laid in August but work had stopped midway after local protests. Although the work had resumed Tuesday, authorities had to halt it again after Wednesday clashes.

While the state government says the road will improve communication, opponents say the move is intended to speed up work for the South Korean major’s project.

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