Women, children block entry of officials into Posco site

The stiff resistance by the villagers of trouble-torn Gobindpur in Posco project site near Paradip today foiled the attempt of the Jagatsinghpur district administration to forcibly acquire land there for the project.

The Jagatsinghpur district collector and superintendent of police, accompanied by 20 platoons of force, today tried to break into the human barricade formed by anti-Posco activists on the outskirts of Gobindpur village on their mission to demolish the betel vines there as part of the land acquisition process.

However, they met with stiff resistance with thousands of school students, village children, women and elderly persons, who are used as shield by the anti-Posco activists, lying down on the sandy fields blocking their entry into the area.

Though the police appealed to the agitators on the public address system to vacate the place and cooperate in land acquisition, the villagers did not budge from their ground. After nearly five hours of eye to eye situation, the district administration officials and police, not in a mood to escalate the tension, returned without entering the village.

It may be noted, though the district administration has completed land acquisition process in Nuagaon and Gada Kujan panchayats, the continuation of this exercise in Gobindpur and Dhinkia villages under Dhinkia panchayat, considered to be the bastion of Posco Pratirodha Sangram Samiti, the organization spearheading anti-Posco agitation, has emerged as a big challenge for it.

Hence, after days of preparation, the administration had intended to go for the push today with the help of huge posse of force. Earlier, twenty platoons police force staged flag march at the outskirts Gobindpur village to create fear psychosis among the agitators.

PPSS president Abhaya Sahu said, “At Gobindpur villagers have demonstrated that they will protect their soil and livelihood in a democratic manner. So the police feared to enter this village. We are ready to face any type of challenge. If the district administration and the police use force in Dhinkia panchayat, children, women and elderly persons will be at the forefront to protest. If there is any casualty, it will be entirely the responsibility of the district administration.”

Though the officials could not enter the village, they, however, forcibly pulled down 11 betel vines on the outskirt of Gobindpur. But the villagers, whose vines were demolished, did not receive any compensation in protest. The administration could only disburse Rs 6.25 lakh to three other beneficiaries of Nuagaon panchayat.

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