Violence in Orissa industrial hub over Tata Steel plant

June 26th, 2008 - 4:22 pm ICT by IANS  


Bhubaneswar, June 26 (IANS) Tension gripped the Kalinga Nagar industrial complex in Orissa’s Jajpur district Thursday after tribals chased away supporters of the proposed six million tonne Tata Steel plant and set their vehicles on fire, police said. About 200 villagers supporting the establishment of the steel plant in Kalinga Nagar, about 120 km from here, had gone to perform a religious ritual Wednesday to re-start the construction of a boundary wall that was stopped after violent protests erupted two and half years ago.

However, they were chased away by as many as 300 tribals wielding bows and arrows. The tribals also set on fire seven motorcycles the villagers had left behind, police said.

Officials said hundreds of policemen have been deployed in the region to maintain law and order.

On Jan 2, 2006, at least 14 people, including 13 tribesmen, died and many were injured when police opened fire on hundreds of tribal agitators in the Kalinga Nagar industrial complex.

The tribals had clashed with police to protest against the construction of a boundary wall by Tata Steel. They had blocked the nearby highway for more than a year since the day of the firing and lifted it following an order by the Orissa High Court.

Kalinga Nagar is a 12,000-acre complex where several companies propose to set up projects. The complex has about 10 industrial units and steel plants. Eight of them have already started production.

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