People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 26

June 26, 2011




Facing Resistance, Govt Stops Land Acquisition


Dusmanta Das


JUNE 21, 2011 will remain a Red Letter Day for the democratic movement in Orissa, and more particularly for the people who have been opposing the forcible occupation of their lands by the government of Orissa near Paradeep for a POSCO plant. Finding no other way in face of the stiff resistance from the local people of Dhinkia, Govindpur and Nuagaon, supported by the democratic people of the state and outside, the government of Orissa declared that it would to stop the land acquisition process, albeit temporarily, from June 21, 2011.


On the day, Basudev Acharia, leader of the CPI(M) group in  Lok Sabha, CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta and Forward Bloc leader Narahari Mahato, along with the CPI(M)’s Orissa state secretary Janardan Pati, state committee member Suresh Panigrahi, Cuttack district secretariat  member Ullash Swain and the state level leaders of the CPI and FB, marched to Dhinkia in Govindpur area where the people’s  protracted resistance was continuing for quite a long time. Of late there were a human chain programme and a dharna by women and children in face of the onslaught of a heavily armed police force.


Addressing the mass comprising the poor farmers, agricultural labourers, small shopkeepers, people from different walks of life and more so the women and children who have been on a continuing dharna while braving the scorching sun, incessant rain and bad weather, Basudev Acharia expressed support to their cause and demanded that the POSCO site should be shifted from the present one and that the forcible occupation of land for the POSCO should be stopped immediately. He also pointed out that there was no need of another port, to be constructed by POSCO, at a distance of only 8 to 10 km from the Paradeep port since the latter is quite capable of handling the increase in cargo including that of the POSCO. He criticised the central government’s ministry of forests and environment for giving environmental clearance to the POSCO while two of its own committees have recommended negatively. He sharply criticised the BJD state government also for its false report to the centre and its attempts at forcible occupation of land through the use of police force. 


Others who addressed the meeting included Gurudas Dasgupta and Narahari Mahato (both MPs), Ajay Sahoo (president of the POSCO Pratirodha Sangram Samiti), Janardan Pati and other leaders of the CPI, CPI(M) and  FB. The visit of the leaders enthused the people. Earlier, people from Dhinkia & Govindapur came in procession, and the people of Nuagaon joined them soon. A motor cycle procession of CPI(M) workers came to the meeting’s venue from Paradeep after covering a stretch of about 15 km.


Ultimately the district administration perforce made the announcement that it was going stop the acquisition of land for the POSCO. Even though the land acquisition has been stopped only temporarily, the announcement brought cheers to the people. It boosted the sense of confidence among the people who have been opposing the forcible occupation of land for years and will also enthuse the people who are fighting for just democratic causes elsewhere.