Jajpur, Jan 2 (LocalWire) Large number of tribals on Wednesday observed the 13th anniversary of Kalinganagar firing, where 14 tribals were killed in police encounter while protesting against Tata’s proposed project in Jajpur district’s steel hub.
Slogan-shouting tribals, including women, took out a procession from Champakoila to Ambagadia and converged at ‘Birabhumi’ to hold a meting at the Martyrs’ Tower.
Addressing the meeting, Bisthapan Birodhi Jana Mancha (BBJM) secretary Rabindra Jaraka said: “The government has yet not explained the reason behind the firing. The state government is only too keen to sign MoUs with big corporate houses and to practically gift away the best deposits of iron ore as captive mines for meagre royalty.”
“Tata built the steel plant over dead bodies of tribals,” he said.
He criticized the decision of the state cabinet for accepting the report of the Inquiry Commission on Kalinga Nagar firing .
“In the report, the Inquiry Commission had not blamed the police for the killing of 14 tribal people. We reject this report,” said Jaraka .
“Many tribals were displaced from their land for this steel plant. Kalinganagar is the hub of as many as 14 steel companies. But many locals, who lost their lands for industrialization, are deprived of getting jobs there,” said Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) spokesperson Prasant Paikray.
Paikray also expressed concern about the slipshod attitude of the authorities to check pollution and to provide proper housing facilities to displaced persons in the steel hub at Kalinganagar and its nearby areas.
Large numbers of people near the villages of Kalinaganagar have reportedly been forced to lead a life amidst stench and filth, with officials reluctant to intervene.
Open drains, potholes, massive water-logging, air and water pollution in the rehabilitation colonies and the nearby villages have made lives miserable in Kalinganagar, alleged tribals.
Rampant industrialization and unregulated use of water by industries are the main reason behind rising river pollution and water shortage in many villages near the Bramahani river, said Paikray.
“We demand a thorough investigation against the steel plants and other industrial units that are involved in polluting water resources and damaging the agricultural crops,” said tribal leader Trolochan Mohant.
“Security has been tightened in Kalinganagar and nearby areas on Wednesday to prevent any untoward incident. The memorial meeting was peaceful with no report of any untoward incident,” said Kalinganagar inspector-in-charge Rajendra Narayan Patnaik.