Bhubaneswar: “The Odisha Government should release Abhaya Sahoo immediately and unconditionally. By arresting the PPSS leader, the ruling BJD wants to put down the popular resistance against the project which threatens large-scale displacement and disruption of the livelihood of local people,” CPI National General Secretary A.B.Bardhan said on Tuesday.

The CPI State Executive Committee, a team of senior Posco-India officials had recently met Priyabrat Patnaik, Chairman of Odisha Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation, and expressed their displeasure about the inordinate delay in construction work.

The arrest of the PPSS leader is being seen here as an attempt to disintegrate the anti-displacement movement for facilitating land acquisition.

Moreover of the 4004 acres of land required for the project, the Government has so far acquired only 2000 acres.

Meanwhile a resolution declaring the party’s solidarity with the anti-Posco movement was passed on Monday. The CPI’s belligerent posture is likely to make the situation more complex for the Government.

The local Jagatsinghpur Lok Sabha member Bibhu Prasad Tarai belongs to CPI. The State Government, under mounting pressures from various circles, is desperately trying to see through the Rs 52,000-crore
South Korean steel project to send across a message to prospective investors.

Touted at the country’s largest Foreign Direct Investment, the desperate attempt by the Naveen Patnaik Government to start construction work of the 12-million-tonne Posco-India steel plant near Paradip, might not bear any immediate fruit as the Communist Party of India has become hostile after the recent arrest of Abhaya Sahoo, Chairman of Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS).

The party has threatened to intensify its anti-Posco agitation with “more vigor” and “resoluteness” if PPSS leader Mr. Sahoo was not released immediately. The project has been in limbo for six years
because of resistance by local people.

Jana Adhikar Morcha, a forum of social workers and intellectuals, on Tuesday condemned the arrest of
PPSS leader Mr. Sahoo and demanded for his release.