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#India – Fishermen oppose Posco’s captive port

The fishermen have vowed to step up stir if NGT gives the green nod for Posco’s captive port

BS Reporter  |  Bhubaneswar 

January 14, 2014

Thousands of fishermen dependent on the Jatadhari river mouth for their livelihood have opposed the captive port proposed by Posco India at that location.

The aggrieved fishermen have sought the intervention of the National Green Tribunal (NGT), pointing out that the NGT should not give clearance to the steel maker to build a port at Jatadhari.

Nearly 50,000 fishermen of Jagatsinghpur and Kendrapara districts depend on the Barunei, Mahanadi and Jatadhari river mouths for fishing to eke out their living. These fishermen are members of Kalinga Karndhar Kaibartya Solabhai Sabha (KKKSS).”Thousands of fishermen are living in a critical condition due to low fish catch at Barunei and Mahanadi river mouths. The situation will worsen if NGT allows Posco to build its captive port at Jatadhari river mouth. The fishermen communities would be deprived of their livelihood and will be forced to migrate to other states to work as bonded labourers”, said Pitamber Tarai, spokesperson of KKKSS.

The fishermen have vowed to step up stir if NGT gives the green nod for Posco’s captive port.The environment activists have raised concerns on the possible impact of the port on marine life, especially Olive Ridley turtles. Meanwhile, the disgruntled youths of Gadakujang and Nuagaon panchayats kicked off a signature campaign in different Posco affected villages to expose the truth behind the indefinite stir called by the pro-Posco leaders.

Miffed with the activities of the pro-Posco leaders, hundreds of youths led by former panchayat samiti member Saumendra Nayak accused the leaders of misleading the affected villages to serve their own interests.

“The intention of the pro-Posco leaders of Nuagaon and Gadkujang is not clear. These leaders are intensifying the stir for their own interest to get contract work from Posco by organizing the affected people. They have duped the innocent villagers including women to sit on dharna to fulfill their demands but this agitation is only to mislead the affected villagers”, Nayak said. Nayak is monitoring the boundary wall construction of the Posco project on behalf of S S Constructions.

The youths have planned to collect the signatures of nearly 1500 people of Nuagaon and Gadakujang panchayats and submit the same to the Jagatsinhgpur administration.

Despite the stir, the boundary wall construction continued smoothly at Nuagaon. Construction work at Polang under Gadakujang panchayat is expected to resume in 2-3 days.

Jeevanlal Behera, head of Gadakujang panchayat said that the contractors and some agents of Posco are attempting to foil the agitation but their efforts will not be successful.On Wednesday, activists of Posco Pratirodha Sangram Samiti (PPSS), the anti-Posco outfit, have planned to hold a rally at Dhinkia against the project and burn effigies of Union Minister for environment and forest Veerappa Moily and South Korean President Park Geun-Hye.

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