Thousands of Orissa villagers rally against Posco nod

February 1st, 2011 - 8:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, Feb 1 (IANS) Over 3,000 villagers Tuesday held large rallies in Orissa’s Jagatsinghpur district to protest against the environment ministry conditional nod to South Korean steel major Posco’s $12 billion steel project in the region.

Men and women from several villages took out separate processions and assembled at Patana village, the central place of the proposed Posco site, about 120 km from state capital Bhubaneswar.

The protester carried posters and banners, and shouted slogans like “Posco go back”, “we will die but not vacate our land”, a police officer told IANS adding that the rallies and meeting were peaceful.

The Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS), which has been spearheading the movement against the project and organized the latest protest, said more such agitations will be launched in the coming days.

“We will take the protest to New Delhi. All those who have been against displacement will join us. We will jointly launch a nationwide agitation,” PPSS spokesperson Prasant Paikray told IANS.

Posco’s 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 gave conditional clearance to the project Monday, 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 homelands and ruin their betel leaf farms.

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