situation to get worse as villagers take volatile stand
STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE
Paradip, 7 February
The failure of Posco officials to attend a meeting with villagers at Nuagaon today is feared to aggravate the situation in the project site with the “aggrieved” villagers threatening to oppose the boundary wall construction works tooth and nail.
Aghast at the Posco officials’ alleged callousness, the villagers threatened that they would not hesitate to demolish the newly-constructed wall. Incidentally, the company officials had agreed, on last Wednesday, to meet the villagers to discuss their demands apparently to dissuade the latter who were about to demolish the structure.
“We feel cheated. The general manager of Posco, Mr SN Singh had requested us not to damage the wall while assuring that he himself would come to our village to talk to us. They did not come today even though we waited for them the whole day. Such apathy will only worsen the volatile situation,” said pro-Posco leader Mr Dhirendra Pallei.
He claimed that the villagers’ demands like job opportunity, compensation, better rehabilitation package etc are genuine and should be fulfilled forthwith.
Meanwhile, sarpanch of Nuagaon Ms Anjali Pradhan sought the intervention of senior officials including the chief secretary, RDC and collector for fulfillment of the villagers’ demand.
Police said that they are keeping a close watch on the development, while observing that no law and order situation has yet been reported.
“The villagers are agitating for fulfillment of their demands. We have not yet deployed our men in Nuagaon and Gadakujanga panchayats as no untoward incident has yet been reported. Nonetheless, we are keeping tap on the developments in the localities,” said SP, Jagatsinghpur Mr Satyabrata Bhoi.
When contacted, collector Mr Satya Prakash Mallick said that the district administration does not have any role in fulfillment of the villagers’ demand and it is up to the company to consider them.
“We have suggested Posco to talk to the villagers and resolve the issues through discussion. This will help in bringing normalcy in the project site area,” he said.