Bhubaneshwer: The POSCO hostage crisis may be over but the incident has put a big question mark on the immediate construction work at the plant site.
The POSCO executives were on a routine visit to Govindpur, the disputed site for the proposed steel plant, when agitating farmers took them hostage. After three-hours the farmers released one female executive, Rojalin Parida, but the others were released only on condition.
“After the subsequent discussion with the villagers, they have agreed to the condition that they will not come without the consent of the villagers,” said Debashish Swain, Sr Executive, POSCO.
Though the hostages are free, the Chairman of the Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samity has warned the Orissa governement.
“If at all the POSCO officials attempt to enter the village, the company and the state government will be held responsible for the serious consequences,” said Abhay Sahoo, Chairman, PPSS Committee.
The land that POSCO wants comes under three-panchayats. The incident happened in the Dhinkia Panchayat. POSCO's new strategy now is to acquire land in the other panchayats, but will go slow in Dhinkia
“We understand that any mega project of this magnitude is subject to such kind of hostilities but we are not perturbed by that and we will continue with our efforts,” POSCO Spokesperson Sashanka Patnaik, said.
The Orissa police tread cautiously. They were in no mood to use force as it could lead to further violence. POSCO now hopes that this incident would be the last roadblock before the Rs 51,000 crore project starts moving fast.