JSW Steel Plant In Odisha: HC Panel Says Most Villagers Support Project

Cuttack: In congruence with the Orissa High Court’s direction, the Jagatsinghpur district administration on Friday filed a counter to the petitions filed against alleged police action on people opposing the proposed steel plant of JSW at Dhinkia on January 14.

Earlier, the five-member committee, formed by the High Court to make an assessment of the ground situation at Dhinkia village after holding public consultation meeting, had submitted its report in the court.
The documentary evidence submitted by the committee showed that 69 people expressed their views. While 53 of them spoke in favour of the administration and the project, the rest opposed it. The sarpanch of Dhinkia pachayat stated that there were no police atrocities.
On the affidavit by the High Court lawyers Prasant K Jena, Sukant Dalei and Omkar Devdas, representing the petitioners, that 12 people were barred from participating in the meeting, the court directed that individual affidavits by objecting villagers may be filed on or before March 28.
The court directed lawyer Jena to collect the affidavits and submit to Jagatsinghpur collector. Besides, district SP would file details on cases, names and numbers of arrests after the January 14 incident.
The court scheduled the next hearing of the case on April 7.
The committee comprising the petitioners’ advocates and government advocates Debakanta Mohanty and Janmejay Cuttackia had visited Dhinkia and held the meeting on March 5 on the direction of a division bench of the High Court comprising Chief Justice S Muralidhar and Justice RK Patnaik.
The meeting, attended by people from five villages under the panchayat, was moderated by Jagatsinghpur collector and SP along with BDO and Tehsildar of Erasama.
The high court issued the order on February 23 after the committee members submitted four reports separately of their visit to Dhinkia on February 19. The bench observed that the villagers could not interact with the committee members freely during the committee’s visit due to some incidents. The bench had set the next hearing of the case on March 11.

It may be noted that the High Court formed the committee to take stock of the ground situation after the police resorted to lathi-charge on the villagers, who were protesting the drive to demolish betel vines in the proposed plant site on January 14. Several villagers were injured.

Later, three villagers filed petitions in the High Court against the alleged police action.

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