POSCO project: Supporters, protesters hold rival meets

March 13th, 2011 - 7:12 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, March 13 (IANS) Supporters and protesters Sunday organised rival meetings in Orissa’s Jagatsinghpur district over South Korean steel major POSCO’s $12 billion project planned in the region, police said.

Carrying posters and banners and shouting slogans against POSCO, the state and central government, thousands of protesters came out in rallies and congregated at Balitutha, the entry point to the proposed plant site.

The leaders of various political parties, including the Left and Congress, and leading anti-displacement activists addressed the gathering and vowed to intensify their protest against the project in the coming days.

The protest rallies were organised under the banner of POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS), which has been spearheading the movement against the project.

PPSS leader Abhaya Sahu said their fight against the project will continue as it will displace thousands of people from their homeland and ruin their betel leaf farming.

POSCO had signed a deal with the Orissa government June 22, 2005 to set up the project near the port town of Paradip, around 100 km from Bhubaneswar, by 2016.

The PPSS has speeded up its agitations after the central environment ministry in January gave conditional clearance to the project — the biggest foreign direct investment in the country.

PPSS activists have also erected wooden gates and barricades in several places to prevent government and company officials from entering into the proposed site.

Those supporting the project separately assembled at Polang village, about five km from the protest site under the banner of Posco Port and Plant Worker’s Union.

Speakers at the meet attended by over a hundred people said the POSCO project will bring economic activities and create employment.

“Both the meetings were peaceful. No untoward incident was reported,” a senior district police official told IANS.

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