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Will the JSW Steel project go the Posco way?


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Unrest grips area after alleged police excess

BHUBANESWAR: It seems the Odisha Government has not learnt any lessons from the steel major Posco’s exit from Odisha. It is again repeating the same mistakes in the case of JSW Utkal Steel Limited, which has proposed to set up a 13.2 million tonnes per annum capacity steel plant at Dhinkia panchayat in Jagatsinghpur district.Notably, in In 2005, when Posco, the world’s fourth-largest steelmaker, signed an MoU with the Odisha Government to set up a 12-million-tonne-capacity steel project in Jagatsinghpur district, it attracted global media attention for being the biggest foreign direct investment in India, at that point of time, at $12 billion (Rs 52,000 crores).

However, twelve years later in 2017 due to stiff public resistance and land acquisition issues, Posco withdrew from the project, which had affected the livelihood of many locals. The State Government had tried to set up the Posco plant forcibly, without taking the locals into confidence.Now, JSW proposed plant has again triggered massive unrest in the Dhinkia area in Jagatsinghpur.The Socialist Unity Centre of India (Communist) has alleged that that the State Government has spread of reign of terror in the area by deploying a huge of police forces at the entrance to the village, who have resorted to lathicharges and picked by people from the homes at will for democratically opposing the project.

Party leader Sadhasiv Das, who visited the spot has strongly condemned the police excess. SUCI(C) State committee Sankar Dasgupta said they would not aloow the project to come up at any cost and would oppose it with their backs to the wall.Meanwhile,  objecting to the alleged police’s brutality on the residents of Dhinkia Panchayat on Monday, a delegation of social activists, environmentalists and journalists on Tuesday approached the Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC) seeking immediate restoration of normalcy in the area.

They filed a petition demanding immediate steps to facilitate the release of the people who have been arrested on false charges and bringing back normalcy to the village.They alleged that the people of Dhinkia are facing hardships due to the police action. The situation has come to such a pass that the villagers are being asked to show their Aadhaar cards to go out and enter their village. For entangling the villagers in false cases, FIRs have been registered against them, they alleged. 

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