Kalinganagar. Telegraph file picture
Bhubaneswar, May 2: Thirteen months after the year-long siege in Kalinganagar industrial area was lifted, fresh tension today gripped the area over twin blockades.
Irate activists of Bistapana Virodhi Jana Manch blocked the Daitari-Paradip Express Highway near Ambagadia to protest the death of Amin Banra, a manch activist, who was allegedly killed by a security guard of one Arvind Singh, a private contractor.
Just 5km away, the truck operators and residents blocked Jajpur-Kalinganagar road at Duburi protesting the “too frequent” blockades by the manch activists.
District administration, apprehending trouble, deployed eight platoons of armed police in the area.
Jajpur superintendent of police D.S. Kutte, who is camping at the spot, told The Telegraph that Singh went to Banra’s village yesterday to negotiate some business deal with the manch activists.
According to Singh, the manch activists attacked him, forcing his security guard to open fire and subsequently Banra was injured. He was rushed to a nearby hospital, where he succumbed to injuries yesterday night.
Singh surrendered before the police today, but his security guard is absconding.
Today manch leaders demanded immediate arrest of the culprit, compensation of Rs 20 lakh and a job for a member of the victim’s family.
Additional district magistrate Ranjit Mohanty told The Telegraph that he was negotiating with the two groups — truck operators and residents and the manch members — to resolve the deadlock.
The manch activists said that they would lift the blockade only if the district administration assured them that there would be no industrialisation at the cost of the residents in the area.
The manch has been spearheading an agitation against displacement by industrial projects, including that of the Tata Steel.
Its activists had blocked the Daitari-Paradip Express Highway, considered as the lifeline of mineral-rich Keonjhar and Jajpur district, following a police firing on January 2, 2006, in which 14 tribals were killed while resisting the construction of a boundary wall by Tata Steel.
Tension brewed in the area for 14 months as the blockade continued for 14 months. It was lifted on March 9, 2007, after an Orissa High Court order.
Around 2,000 trucks transport 21,000 tonnes of ore through the highway to the Paradip port.