Villagers seek goddess Durga blessings ahead of Gupta report
Bhubaneswar: While the rest of Orissa was
celebrating Dusshera festival, the residents of the three gram
panchayats in Orissa`s Jagatsinghpur district on Sunday invoked
blessings of goddess Durga to win their fight against Posco.
The villagers organised a special puja at Patana
village under Dhinkia gram panchayat, a day before the central
committee headed by former environment secretary Meena Gupta,
submitting its report with the Ministry of Envirnment and
"We prayed to goddess Durga so that Meena Gupta gives
a positive report favouring villagers," said Rekhi Nayak, a
woman leader of Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS), the
body fighting against the proposed Rs 51,000 crore steel
Nayak was not the lone woman, many from Patana,
Dhinkia and Gobindpur assembled near the puja pandal and
sought blessings of the goddess.
"I prayed to the goddess to save our house and land
which was in target of the state government and the company,"
said Anita Mohanty adding that they have already vowed before
the goddess not to vacate house and land for Posco project.
People of Patana village under Dhinkia gram panchayat,
the epicentre of anti-Posco agitation, had united the
villagers, both men and women, to sharpen their opposition.
"The puja was being held at Patana village for last 20 years.
This year`s puja was special because it coincided with
submission of the report of Meena Gupta committee," said
Dhinkia gram panchayat sarpanch Sisir Mohapatra.
"All of us have been waiting for the Meena Gupta
committee report. We are hopeful that she will understand the
plight of people," said PPSS president Abhay Sahu.
The Meena Gupta committee was constituted in July to
probe the status of implementation of the Forest Rights Act,
and implementation of the rehabilitation and resettlement
plans. Its mandate was later broadened to review Posco`s
compliance with environmental and coastal regulation zone
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