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Arrest of anti-Posco leader mounts tension in Orissa

Bhubaneswar, Sat, 11 Oct 2008 NI Wire

The government of Orissa, in yet another internal disturbance after the recent anti-Christian clashes in Kandhamal and adjoining areas, has deployed heavy policemen in Jagatsinghpur district following the arrest of president of Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti Abhay Sahu that triggered violence on Monday.

Abhay Sahu, who is spearheading the agitation against the proposed Posco steel plant, was arrested on Sunday evening near Paradeep when he was returning from Cuttack.

Hundreds of people from three gram panchayats of Jagatsinghpur staging protest against the arrest have come to the streets, though no untoward incident is reported so far.

According to reports, Sahu has been arrested with a number of criminal cases registered against him. However, any confirmation of his unanticipated arrest is yet to come from the district police.

It is to mention here that the state government is struggling to allot the required amount of land to the Korean steel maker in order to go ahead with the project, as a large section of villagers are not willing to give up their farmland. The Rs. 51,000-crore proposed steel plant the largest foreign direct investment (FDI) project in the country would displace no less than 500 families.

Abhay Sahu, a local CPI activist has been leading the protest of villagers against the company ever since Posco signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Government of Orissa in 2005.

Earlier in August, the Supreme Court cleared the South Korean steel major to set up the project following a socio-economic survey.

The state administration has granted the company a 30-year mining lease to supply a total of 600 million tonnes of iron ore to the new plant.

Read More: Cuttack | South Goa

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