It is an industry that has roped in support of the State government. But to the sons of the soil of Kalinga Nagar, in the district of Jajpur, the Maharastra Seamless, a 450-crore steel plant project, is an intruder.
In a new episode of violence that is indicative of what can happen if poor people are deprived of their land and property by the State in its blind endeavor to have alliance with industry, the Additional District Magistrate of Jajpur, S. Gopalan, had to be sifted to Kalinga Hospital at Bhubaneswar, while the Inspector-in-Charge of Police of Kalinga Nagar P.S., S.C.Mohapatra had to take admission in the S.C.B.Medical College Hospital at Cuttack in critical condition caused by stone-pelting by the tribal inhabitants of the area who were deeply disturbed and frustrated by their active and aggressive support to promoters of the Plant.
The Tribals demand was to keep in abeyance the foundation-stone-laying ceremony of the Plant till they were properly compensated against the loss of their landed property as well as their traditional and hereditary living environment. Should the officers have reported this to the Government a conciliatory step could have been taken. But they refused to heed to their request and on the contrary, helped the plant promoters to proceed. This irritated the tribals who having known no other way to ward off the intruders, resorted to pelting of stones like they do in case of dangerous animals.
By the time of filing this report, as many as 20 tribals have been arrested by the Police. Illiterate and wretchedly poor forest dwellers, they are destined to fail in obstructing engulfing of their living environment by the industrial plants, as their own government is in alliance with the rich. But the spontaneity of mob violence like this incident does vehemently demand for introspection by them who run the government.