Monday, November 29, 1999

``Centre, Orissa govt backing Posco, say Left parties

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New Delhi, May 15 (PTI) Left parties today charged the Centre and the Orissa government with backing the South Korean firm Posco and "ignoring" all concerns of the people against the Posco project. Demanding a stop to the use of force against the agitators, the four parties termed as "total falsehood and canard" that some of the protesters threw bombs which forced police to use rubber bullets and teargas to disperse the protesters, who have been on dharna at the project site for several months. After a meeting here, top leaders of the CPI(M), CPI, RSP and Forward Bloc said Posco''s move to build a captive port would have an adverse impact on the existing Paradip port. Posco was also proposing to have captive iron ore mines instead of purchasing ore from the Orissa Mining Corporation, while its proposal to draw water from the Mahanadi Barrage would seriously affect the irrigation system and damage the ecological balance in the region, the parties said in a statement. "Ignoring all these concerns, the Centre and the state governments have been backing Posco in their efforts," the statement signed by Prakash Karat (CPI-M), A B Bardhan (CPI), Debabrata Biswas (Forward Bloc) and Abani Roy (RSP) said. While CPI MP from Jagatsinghpur Bibhu Prasad Tarai has been arrested along with several others, leaders of CPI and CPI(M) were present when police resorted to tear gas, lathi charge and fired with rubber bullets to disperse the protesters, they said. They demanded that the state government stop the use of force against the agitators.

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