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No visit to Posco site villages: Orissa CM

February 02, 2011 17:52 IST
PoscoContrary to the promise made by him about 6 months ago, Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday ruled out his visit to the proposed Posco site in near future, even as anti-project agitators sealed the plant area near Paradip.

Patnaik's statement came a few hours after the anti-posco activists sealed all the six roads connecting the proposed plant site villages located in three gram panchayats under Ersama block in Jagatsinghpur district.

"No way in the near future," Patnaik told reporters while replying a question on possibility of his visit to the proposed plant site where agitators had been preventing entry of any government official, police or company personnel.

Patnaik, at a meeting with leaders of Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti, the body opposing the project, on June 13 last year, had assured that he would personally visit the area to assess the situation at the ground level.

"The chief minister had assured us that he would visit the villages identified for the Posco project.

"Patnaik's visit was one of our demands. But Patnaik has not visited the area so far," said PPSS president Abhay Sahu.

The chief minister's visit to the area was sought as most of the agitators carried "an impression that Patnaik would never allow the plant to come up on the fertile land," said PPSS secretary Sisir Mohapatra who was also Sarpanch of Dhinkia gram panchayat, the place known as the epicentre of the anti-posco

Claiming that people in the three gram panchayat were economically sound due to fertile land where farmers grow betel, cashew, paddy, drum stick and fish, Mohapatra said there was no point in destroying a 'well developed rural economy' for a foreign company.

Patnaik, however, said he would 'look into' the problems of the people agitating against the country's biggest foreign direct investment project.

"Let us see what problems they have," he said.

The chief minister said the state government would go through the conditions put by the ministry of environment and forest for clearing the Posco project.

"Then we will see what next can be done," he said.

Meanwhile, the agitators guarded all the six wooden gates erected by them at entry points to the villages located in the proposed project site.

"While women will guard the gates during day time, men are assigned the job in nights," said Sahu, adding outsiders other than government officials, police and Posco staff, would not face problems to enter into the villages.

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