Paradip, July 16 : Work at the proposedPosco steel project site in Orissa's Jagatsinghpur district could not be taken up today due to protest by locals who chased the police leading to a brief scuffle between them.
Though opponents of Posco claimed that five women were injured, one of them seriously, at Mathasahi under Nuagaon panchayat after being beaten up by the police, the district administration dismissed the allegation.
“No police excess was committed as claimed by some people. Police were discussing with people when the villagers used vulgar language and chased them with batons and brooms,” Additional District Magistrate Sarojkanta Choudhury said. Inspector of Kujanga police station Gupteswar Bhoi said, “Officials along with police force reached the forest area at Mathasahi for felling of trees. They tried to convince the people but the people resisted the police from proceeding”.
Police did not use force nor was any one injured, Bhoi said.
Bhaskar Swain, leader of Bhitamati Surakshya Manch (BSM), however, alleged that the police thrashed the women who opposed felling of trees in the nearby forests. One woman was seriously injured in the police action and was undergoing treatment at the government hospital at Kujanga, he claimed.
A few people, particularly womenfolk, were keeping a watch on the forest near Mathasahi to save it from being cleaned and others were sitting on dharna site at Nuagaon. Taking advantage of the presence of few people in the village, police force had entered the area but were chased away by the people, Swain said.
Nuagaon, Gadakujanga and Dhinkia are three gram panchayats in Jagatsinghpur district which had been identified for Posco's proposed mega steel plant. PTI