Paradip, December 9 (LocalWire): Intensifying their stir against the proposed Sajjan Jindal-led JSW Utkal Steel Limited, villagers of Dhinkia, Nuagaon and Gadakujanga panchayat have announced setting up of a joint front, JSW Pratirodha Sangram Samiti (JPSS) on Sunday.
The facility proposed by Jindal is going to be set up on the land which was acquired for the 12 million tonne steel plant of the South Korean steel major Posco that had to shut office after similar opposition by the Posco Pratirodha Sangram Samiti.
Sources said that the Jindal Group is all set to expedite its proposed 52 MTPA steel project on the Posco land in Paradip and the Odisha State Pollution Control Board has fixed 20 December 2019 for conducting its environmental public hearing at Gadakujang Jagannath temple.
The public hearing is important for obtaining the environmental clearance from the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
Locals say that people in the vicinity have learned their lesson from the Posco Company which failed to fulfill their demands, and hence they are not relying on the commitment of JSW employees this time.
“Hence, we have vowed to protest the public hearing meeting to be held in December,” a local stated.
Former MLA and Congress party leader Lalatendu Mohapatra who was unanimously elected as the JPSS president has strongly criticized conducting just a one-day public hearing meeting to seek clearance for the integrated JSW steel plant, cement, captive power plant and captive port of JSW group at Jatadhari River mouth.
“Our newly outfit JPSS would fight tooth and nail to stop the setting up of polluting industrial units near the villages,” he said.
Mohapatra also alleged that the government wants to destroy the international-level Paradip Port by allowing the JSW captive port facility at Paradip to handle the proposed 10-million-tonne steel plant in the area.
“Any port in the area will affect Paradip Port’s cargo operation. In a similar case, we have seen how cargo handling at Visakhapatnam Port has been severely affected after the Gangavaram Port was set up close by. Our outfit will certainly oppose setting up of the JSW captive port,” he stated.
It may be recalled that JSW has submitted a proposal to Industrial Promotion and Investment Corporation of Odisha (IPICOL) expressing the intention to locate the port at Jatadhari Muhan, about 8 Kms from Paradip port.
It is at the same place where Posco had earlier proposed to set up a captive port, which was then opposed by the local people.
Villagers allege that it was illegal to set up JSW plant on the land acquired for Posco and the state government should have returned the land to people as no project could be set up within five years of its acquisition.
“The new project will jeopardise the livelihood of villagers of three panchayats and hence we are demanding to scrap of the integrated steel, cement, and captive power plant, and the JSW port,” locals stated.