The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Law stick on Posco protest

Bhubaneswar, Oct. 15: Chief minister Naveen Patnaik today asked the anti-industry protesters not to take law into their own hands.

“They should not take law into their hands,” said Patnaik, while reacting to the incidents in which anti-Posco activists had held four senior company officials hostage for seven hours on Saturday.

“Our government is taking steps for maintaining law and order in the proposed industrial project sites and thereby, creating an investor-friendly climate in the state,” he said.

The chief minister said his government would continue to support the mega industrial projects in the state, including that of Posco. Patnaik’s assurance came in the wake of resentment by Posco authorities over the “government inaction”.

“We fail to understand as to why the administration is not taking action against a group of people who have taken law onto themselves,” said Posco spokesperson Shashank Patnaik.

“This sort of activities will de-motivate the investors and have adverse impact on foreign investments, which will not be in the larger interest of the people and the state,” he warned.

State steel and mines minister Padmanabha Behera, however, said that action would be taken against the elements, who were taking law onto themselves. “Their nuisance would not be tolerated,” he said.

Meanwhile, anti-Posco activists released 10 labourers and a driver whom they had taken hostage on October 11.

“We released them as the contractor shifted the timber they had brought to build the bridge,” said Abhay Sahu, the president of Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti, the organisation spearheading the anti-steel plant agitation since last 27 months. The government was building the bridge to facilitate Posco officials to have access to the project site, he said.

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