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Orissa High Court constitutes lawyers’ panel to assess ground level situation in JSW steel plant site

Earlier the High Court had directed the Odisha home department to submit a status report on the ground situation in the village

Statesman News Service | Bhubaneswar |

The Orissa High Court has constituted a five-member panel of advocates to make an on-the-spot assessment of ground-level situation in Dhinkia village, the proposed site of a 13.2 million tonne per annum integrated steel plant by Jindal Steel Works (JSW) in Jagatsinghpur district, where a confrontation between villagers and police had left more than two dozen persons injured last month.

Earlier the High Court had directed the Odisha home department to submit a status report on the ground situation in the village, which has now become the epicenter of resistance movement against the proposed JSW steel plant.

“Learned counsel appearing for the Petitioners before this Court Mr. Prasanta Kumar Jena, Mr. Omkar Devdas and Mr. Sukanta Kumar Dalai as well as Mr. Debakanta Mohanty and Mr. J. Katikia, learned Additional Government Advocates will visit the village Dhinkia on 19th February 2022 and file a joint report of their assessment of the situation on the ground. If they are unable to agree on their respective perceptions it is permissible for them to file their respective reports”, a division bench comprising Chief Justice Dr. S. Muralidhar and Justice R.K. Pattanaik directed today.

“In the meanwhile, if there are villagers, who apprehend returning to the village for fear of safety or of arrest, their names shall be furnished by learned counsel for the Petitioners to Mr. Debakanta Mohanty and Mr. J. Katikia, Additional Government Advocates who can then arrange for them to be escorted back to the village without any fear, harassment by way of threat of arrest or risk to their safety”, the division bench ruled while posting the matter for further hearing on 23 February.

Police and locals were locked in a clash at Dhinkia village last month as the authorities had marched into the village to dismantle the betel vineyards for acquisition of land for the big-ticket steel project. The project required 2,950 acres of land. 45.56 acres of forestland is in

People in Dhinkia, the resistance hotspot, are opposing tooth and nail to part with 45.56 acres of forestland used by them for betel vine cultivation.