For more than four years the POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samity (PPSS) has been bravely resisting attempts to displace over 30,000 people in Jagatsinghpur District of Orissa by POSCO, a South Korean company, which wants to set up a steel company and a port on their lands.
The US12 billion-dollar project, being aggressively promoted by both Orissa and Indian governments, threatens the livelihood of thousands of agriculturists, workers and small businesses in the area besides devastating the local environment and ecology.
In the course of their peaceful and democratic non-violent struggle to prevent their lands from being forcibly acquired by POSCO, the members of PPSS have been brutally attacked by paid goons of the company and subjected to grueling economic blockades by the local administration. Several of their leaders, including Abhay Sahu, veteran CPI leader in the area, have been put behind bars and false charges foisted on over 150 activists, both men and women.
Need For Doctors and Medicines:
As a result of all this there is now a grave medical emergency developing in the Erasama and Kujanga blocks of Jagatsinghpur district, the sites of the proposed land acquisition for the POSCO steel plant. There are dozens of activists who have fractured limbs due to violence by the company’s hired musclemen, some of which include injuries from bomb attacks. They need orthopedic help and in some cases possibly even surgical intervention.
Some women in the area are in late stages of pregnancy but unable to leave the area to get the medical care they need because of the fear of harassment and even arrest by the local police. Many other women have developed a range of gynecological problems that need urgent medical attention.
There is severe malnutrition among children owing to the lack of income over the past few years as many local people have not been able to pursue their normal livelihoods because of the turmoil in the area. The general population of the affected villages also need help in combating malaria which is endemic to the area. There are also patients suffering from paralysis who need medical care. All these patients cannot go out and receive treatment because of the threat of arrests.
Therefore, we appeal to you to help in mobilizing support for a medical camp which can be organized by the anti-Posco movement. Please contact:
Prashant Kumar Paikray: (0)9437571547;
Satya Sivaraman: (0)9818514952; or
K.P. Sasi: (0)9945282056.
Protest on September 10:
A huge gathering of the people affected by POSCO will take place on September 10 at Balitutha, the entrance point of the proposed POSCO complex area. Many leaders of different anti-displacement struggles will address the gathering. The anti-Posco movement appeals to all people’s movements against displacement, movements against SEC, mass organization leaders and like-minded activists to participate and express solidarity.
Need for Contributions:
There is an urgent need for contributions for the protest on September 10, medical care, legal defence and other expenses of the movement. We appeal to you to communicate to your friends and mobilize maximum support and inform Prashant Kumar Paikray, the spokesperson of the movement (09437571547) at the earliest.
Send Letters of Protest:
The PPSS appeals to people all over India and around the world to show solidarity with the struggle by sending letters of protest to the Chief Minister of Orissa and the Prime Minister of India (Fax: 91-11-23019545 / 91-11-23016857).
Copies of protest letters can be sent to
Prashant Paikray, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samithy (PPSS)
K.P.Sasi, Visual Search, Bangalore
Dr. Abdul Salam, Secretary, NCHRO
Satya Sivaraman, www.binayaksen.net, New Delhi
Magline Peter, Theeradesa Mahilavedi, Kerala
Dhirendra Panda, Common Concern, Orissa
Jagadish, New Socialist Alternative, Bangalore
Rajaji Mathew, CPI MLA, Chairperson, Kerala Legislative Assembly on Environment
Anivar Aravind, Moving Republic, Bangalore