10, Nov 2017 | Sushmita
Protesting villagers and betel cultivators from the Paradip region of Odisha formed themselves into the POSCO Pratirodh Sangharsh Samiti (PPSS), in June 2005- after an MoU was signed between POSCO and Odisha state government. After winning a hard fought battle against POSCO, the PPSS is now strongly resisting the handing over of 27, 000 acres of land in Odisha’s Paradip area to JSW steel.
Since May 2017, the PPSS demanded that the construction of a boundary wall that began Nuagaon area that month must immediately be stopped. PPSS says that as of November 6, 2017, it has been fighting a long and hard legal battle to provide legal defence for 420 individuals who were involved in the struggle. Additionally, warrants have also been issued against 2500 people which includes 500 women. Of these, 400 individuals were arrested. The remaining 2000 fear a constant threat of arrest.
The PPSS, after a long and tedious struggle of more than a decade, had managed to secure a victory in its struggle against the South Korean company POSCO earlier this year, in March. Due to its persistent and peaceful resistance, POSCO was forced to exit finally.
Despite the success of the struggle, media reports indicate that an unrelenting state has now joined hands with the JSW steel for a new project, in which JSW has demanded 4500 acres of land and it is likely to invest Rs. 50, 000 crores for the 10 mtpa steel plant and a 900 mw power plant. The company also pledged to make an investment of Rs. 2000 crore to set up a captive port in Odisha’s coast at Jatadhari Muhan near Paradip.
While the PPSS has declared that they will continue their resistance against all such attempts to take over the forest land and also struggle for justice in the false and fabricated cases against their activists, we take you through the twelve year long journey of resistance led by the PPSS.