12 injured as villagers clash with police over port project

12-30
Bhubaneswar, Dec 30 (IANS) At least 12 people, including five policemen, were hurt when hundreds of villagers clashed with police Thursday in Orissa’s Balasore district protesting a port project in their region, official said.

More then 400 people protesting the project blocked a road and obstructed government officials at Chaumukh village, about 300 km from here, when they had gone to conduct a public hearing for the Subarnarekha port project, Superintendent of Police Rajesh Kumar said.

‘When an attempt was made to clear the road, they pelted stones at police,’ Kumar told IANS.

Five policemen and seven villagers sustained minor injuries in the scuffle, he said, adding that the district authorities later successfully conducted a public hearing.

Villagers however alleged that police baton charged them when they were launching a peaceful protest. They said the number of villagers injured could be more.

Chennai-based Creative Port Development Ltd is setting up an all-weather port on the mouth of Subarnarekha river with an investment of Rs.2,187 crore.

The company entered into a concession agreement with the state government Jan 11, 2008 for setting up the port with an initial capacity of 10 million tonnes per annum, which would be scaled up to 40 million tonnes per annum in 10 years.

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