Daily Pioneer reporter Kahnu Nanda reports that situation is turning in favour of POSCO in the Kujang Block. The Article is reproduced below:

“Days after Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik asserted that the mega greenfield steel plant by South Korean steel major Posco will be established at Kujang and that construction work would start from April 1, 2008, Posco has reiterated its commitment to the project.

An overwhelming section of people living in the proposed project site areas, including representatives of several political parties, social activists and local senior citizens, are moving fast to garner support for the project’s implementation.

Reports indicate that several meetings and campaigning has been held in project site at village level in the past week in a bid to woo the locals in the project’s favour.

Different project sympathisers have been organising these pro-Posco meetings and Ersama MLA and former Minister Damodar Rout has proposed to organise a mass public meeting in Balitutha Hat on October 27 just at a stone’s throw distance from the project opponents’ road block over Balitutha Bridge since September 24.

Sources said that a pro- Posco meeting was organised under the leadership of former PS member Jiban Lal Behera and the meeting was attended by most of habitants and discussed the Posco issues at length.

The senior villagers, attending the meeting too opined setting up of the project and unanimously resolve requesting the Posco authorities to reopen its closed Kujang office immediately.

Meanwhile, Ranjan Das a social activist and native of Polang, an affected village for the project, arranged a meeting in village on Tuesday in a move to garner support for Posco.

The Chief Minister’s endeavours to have a dialogue with project opposition groups had described a salutary effort while the villagers emphasised that the Posco authorities need to directly interact with the affected people for land acquisitions, Askhya Das, a villager revealed.

The political atmosphere in the project sites of Gadakujang, Dhinkia, Nuagaon, Chatua, Balitutha and Bamadeipur villages saw a startling incident on Tuesday when one Dhruba Charana Muduli, a social activist had called an all party meeting in Gadakujanga to discuss the Posco stalemate.

The meeting was attended by most of the members of different political parties of the locality excluding Leftists.

In the meeting a decision was taken to form an all party co ordination committee taking members from different political parties to hold dialogue with the State Government, the district administration and the Posco authorities to sort out the project obstacles, informed a member of a major political party.

Meanwhile, sources said that a similar type of meeting had been organised in Govindpur village under the leadership of Nirvay Samantray and project sympathiser Tamil Pradhan had conducted a meting in his Nuagaon village on Wednesday.

However, reports said that most of Posco supported leaders at the proposed project site villages have been organising meetings and campaigning to bring a pro attitude since the Chief Minister and Posco agreed for the project inception last week.

Ersama legislator Damodar Rout ,who was keeping distance from Posco related issues earlier has started organising mass contact campaigning with a message against anti -Posco sentiments in project site villages.

However, Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) who is spearheading the anti-Posco movement since one year vowed to oppose the project tooth to nail and refused to act on the Chief Minister’s desire of a dialogue.

According to them the project would wipe out 11 villages and affect around 20,000 habitants therefore no industry should not be set up at the cost of agricultural lands that threatens to take away the livelihood of people.

Abhaya Sahoo, PPSS chairman slammed the State Government for being insensible towards the affected locals, and also threatened of not giving one inch of land for the Posco project. He blamed the local leaders for organising pro Posco meetings in their areas under the influence and getting financial supports from Posco.”