Bhubaneswar: Contrary to the promise made
by him about 6 months ago, Orissa Chief Minister Naveen
Patnaik on Wednesday ruled out his visit to the proposed Posco site
in near future, even as anti-project agitators sealed the
plant area near Paradip.
Patnaik`s statement came a few hours after the
anti-Posco activists sealed all the six roads connecting the
proposed plant site villages located in three gram panchayats
under Ersama block in Jagatsinghpur district.
"No way in the near future," Patnaik told reporters
while replying a question on possibility of his visit to the
proposed plant site where agitators had been preventing entry
of any government official, police or company personnel.
Patnaik, at a meeting with leaders of Posco Pratirodh
Sangram Samiti (PPSS), the body opposing the project, on June
13 last year, had assured that he would personally visit the
area to assess the situation at the ground level.
"The chief minister had assured us that he would visit
the villages identified for the Posco project. Patnaik`s visit
was one of our demands. But Patnaik has not visited the area
so far," said PPSS president Abhay Sahu.
The chief minister`s visit to the area was sought as
most of the agitators carried "an impression that Patnaik
would never allow the plant to come up on the fertile land,"
said PPSS secretary Sisir Mohapatra who was also Sarpanch of
Dhinkia gram panchayat, the place known as the epicentre of
the anti-Posco agitation.
Claiming that people in the three gram panchayat were
economically sound due to fertile land where farmers grow
betel, cashew, paddy, drum stick and fish, Mohapatra said
there was no point in destroying a "well developed rural
economy" for a foreign company.
Patnaik, however, said he would "look into" the
problems of the people agitating against the country`s biggest
FDI project. "Let us see what problems they have," he said.
The chief minister said the state government would go
through the conditions put by the ministry of environment and
forest for clearing the Posco project. "Then we will see what
next can be done," he said.
Meanwhile, the agitators guarded all the six wooden
gates erected by them at entry points to the villages located
in the proposed project site.
"While women will guard the gates during day time, men
are assigned the job in nights," said Sahu adding outsiders
other than government officials, police and Posco staff, would
not face problems to enter into the villages.