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Posco protest continues

Paradip, Jan. 15: Opponents of the Posco steel project today continued with their protest putting in place a three-tier human barricade at the project site with women and children at the forefront.

The protesters who resumed their agitation yesterday after a hiatus of 15 months have been opposing the government’s “go-ahead” signal for acquisition of forestland at Gobindpur village under Dhinkia gram panchayat.

“We have put in place a human barricade on the Gobindpur-Dhinkia border to protest against the Posco project. The villagers will guard the village border to stop any kind of land acquisition exercise. The protest will go on till the government scraps the land acquisition exercise,” said Sisir Kumar Mahapatra, general secretary of the Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti, the outfit that has been spearheading the anti-Posco movement for the last 7 years.

An official, however, described today’s protest as symbolic. “The protesters were very few in number. There was lack of spontaneity in people’s involvement. It will fizzle out soon. The land acquisition exercise will shortly get under way in a peaceful manner,” he said.

In the past, too, the protesters created a human chain with women and children at the forefront, forcing the government agencies to stall the project work. As the project work came to a grinding halt 15 months ago, the district administration had decided recently to resume the work in a last-ditch effort to break the deadlock.