Hundreds protest in New Delhi against POSCO plant in Orissa

November 15th, 2008 - 7:52 pm ICT by ANI  

New Delhi, Nov 15 (ANI): Hundreds of people marched in New Delhi on Saturday to protest against a plant being built by South Korean steel maker POSCO in Orissa.

Activists belonging to anti-POSCO groups - POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti - PPSS, POSCO Pratirodh Solidarity and All India students Federation held placards and banners to pursue central government about the drawbacks of the project.

Anti-POSCO project activists have come to New Delhi to raise their voice against the project and also to demand release of at least three anti-POSCO leaders arrested in Orissa last month.

Today we have staged this mass protest because POSCO, which is known as the steel giant of Korea, is bringing a project in Orissa. Orissa government has allowed it as well. But with the project flourishing economy of that council will be destroyed. People will be displaced and their identity will be lost. So that’’s why we want to raise our voices on the issue, said Mamta, member of Posco Pratirodh Solidarity.

Police in Orissa had arrested Abhay Sahu, chairman of the anti-POSCO group PPSS, on October 12 in connection with attacks on the house of a POSCO supporter two years ago.

Activists of All India Students Federation (AISF) supported anti-POSCO groups and demanded release of Sahu.

There about 127 cases have been registered by the police and the Orissa government in support of the company against the common people who are fighting against the project. We demand that those cases should be cancelled as they are all false cases. Government should provide all required facilities to the people so that they excel by staying on their land. And we also demand that Abhay Sahu should be released, Jyoti Ranjan Mohapatra, state president AISF.

The Supreme Court ruled in August that POSCO could use large tracts of forestland to build the 12 billion dollar plant — the country’’s largest foreign investment.

Villagers say the construction will force them off farmland and displace about 20,000 people.

The protests reflect a larger standoff between industry and farmers unwilling to give up land in India, where two-thirds of the population depends on agriculture for a living.

POSCO and the state have said the plant, in the Jagatsinghpur district of the mineral-rich state, will create jobs in an impoverished part of the country.

But villagers have refused to hand over land and political parties have joined them in regular protests against POSCO.

The region has witnessed numerous clashes since POSCO inked a deal in June 2005.

Recently, Tata Motors Limited quit West Bengal after violent protests by farmers who lost land forced it to stop production. (ANI)

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