The ripples of Kalinga Nagar tirbals-police clash, symbolising growing tribal ire against project induced displacements, seem to be spreading fast to different parts of Orissa, simmering with similar issues.
In the aftermath of this bloody clash, the tribals of Rourkela, who had been agitating for the past two years demanding proper rehabilitation of the people affected by Rourkela Steel Plant, have stepped up their agitation by launching an economic blockade to press for their long-standing demand.
Thousands of tribals from 32 villages in and around Rourkela, united under the banner of the Local Displaced Association, on Tuesday resorted to road and rail blockade, disrupting transport services to and from Rourkela. The tribals, who were carrying their traditional bows and arrows, raised slogans against the government.
According to official sources, rail service between Rourkela and the Chakradharpur section has been disrupted, affecting movement of goods from Rourkela Steel Plant. The agitators have also set afire two dumpers and two trucks at Panposh and Beldi on the outskirts of Rourkela town.
The demands of the tribals included employment in the steel plant for those who were yet to get their promised jobs and restoration of surplus land in the hands of Rourkela Steel Plant authority to its original owners. "We will continue our agitation till all our demands are met", said Ramachandra Sahu, LDA leader.
As the situation continues to be tense, the administration has deployed heavy police force to avoid any untoward incident. The police have also arrested 25 people including the CPI(M) legislator from Banai, Lakhman Munda.
Meanwhile, eight days after the clash at Kalinga Nagar, the agitating tribals of nearby villages continued their dharna on the Daitary-Paradip expressway at Madhuban Chhak blocking all traffic on the road.
Congress chief and United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Chairperson Sonia Gandhi is scheduled to visit Kalinga Nagar tomorrow along with Home Minister Shivraj Patil and Home Secretary VK Duggal to take stock of the situation.
In another development, the Chief Justice of the Orissa High Court, Sujit Burman Roy, today appointed Justice AS Naidu to conduct a judicial inquiry into the police firing on tribals at Kalinga Nagar on January 2.Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had announced a judicial probe into the incident following the incident in which 12 tribals were killed.