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Clash in Kalinga Nagar over Tata hospital injures 4

Bhubaneswar, June 20: Fresh tension flickered on Kalinga Nagar radar when two groups clashed over construction of a hospital by Tata Steel at Gobarghati village yesterday in which four persons were injured.

According to the police, one among the injured identified as Barik Soni (35) of Bhalupatia village was shifted to SCB Medical College and Hospital at Cuttack after his condition deteriorated.

Others were released after first aid at Danagadi community health centre.

Police said the clash took place when more than 300 tribal members — mostly women armed with lethal and traditional weapons — of Bisthapan Virodhi Jan Manch (BVJM) spearheading tribal movement against industrialisation attacked the construction labourers and damaged doors, windows of houses at Tata rehabilitation colony near Duburi Chhack.

“A case has been lodged following an FIR by a contractor,” said Jajpur SP Dhirendra S. Kuttey.

Tata Steel, which has signed a MoU with the Orissa government to set up a six-million-tonne steel plant in Kalinga Nagar, has entrusted civil construction work for its proposed 300-bed hospital and rehabilitation colony inside the industrial complex to a private agency.

The hospital, which is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year, will cater to over one lakh people living in at least 15 gram panchayats surrounding it.

The local tribals have been opposing the construction, demanding Tata’s withdrawal from its steel project.

A section of tribals, who support industrialisation, alleged police inaction against the attackers.

“Last time, too, they injured nine labourers but no action was taken against the Jan Manch members. We are yet to know the intention of the administration which claims to have been working over time for industrialisation,” said Jayram Tiu, a local tribal leader.

The Jan Manch, however, warned that opposition against Tata Steel would continue.

“We won’t allow the Tatas to construct anything inside the industrial complex. The district administration should prevent the company from entering the proposed site till the crisis is resolved,” said Rabi Jarika, secretary to the Bisthapan Virodhi Jan Manch.

The Manch was formed following the death of 13 tribals in police firing on January 2, 2006, when tribals clashed with police while opposing the construction of the boundary wall of Tata Steel.

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