Medha Patkar joins Anti-Posco protest

June 20th, 2011 - 8:45 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, June 20 (IANS) The anti-Posco agitation in Orissa got a boost Monday with social activist Medha Patkar joining the villagers in their protest.

Patkar visited the site of the proposed $12 billion project in the coastal district of Jagatsinghpur and extended her support to the villagers.

The villagers have formed a human barricade in the troubled Govindpur village since the past several days to prevent the entry of officials to the area for land acquisition.

Accusing the government of acquiring the land from the villagers in an undemocratic manner, Patkar said the officials should understand that land acquisition cannot happen at gun-point.

“People have the right to protest. Without the consent of the local people, how can the government acquire land? It is a gross human rights violation,” the activist told a gathering of villagers.

Posco’s proposed 12 million tonne steel plant - the largest foreign investment in India - is to come up near the port town of Paradip, about 120 km from here.

The company requires about 4,004 acres of land for the project, of which 2,900 acres is forest land.

The local administration said it has already acquired nearly half of the land required for the project.

The land acquisition was scheduled to resume Monday but authorities postponed it without citing any reason.

“We are awaiting further instructions from the government on the matter,” Additional District Magistrate S.K. Chaudhuri told IANS.

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