Update From Anti-POSCO People's Movement In Odisha
More than 3000 villagers have formed a human barricade to prevent police and officials from entering their village. Using loudspeakers, the government administration is repeatedly threatening to forcibly enter the area. Yet, over 700 students, women and elderly people are lying prostrate in the scorching sun, refusing to budge from their own land.
With the notoriety and support the protesters are receiving, the national government is getting into the act. Jairam Ramesh, the environmental minister, chastened the state government of Odisha. Given how neoliberal his boss (Prime Minister Singh) is, it is quite possible this is nothing more than pander.
Forest clearance no license for acquisition: Jairam Ramesh to Orissa (aka Odisha) govt
New Delhi: Protests continue to intensify against land acquisition for the proposed 12 billion dollar POSCO plant in Govindpur in Orissa.
Though police action is not expected till June 17 due to Monsoon festival of Rajo, many members of the civil society and activists are expected to join the protesters today to show their support.
[Nothing spoils a good festival quite like state terrorism!]
Ramesh issued this statement: 'I have often said that the environment and forest clearance process should not be used to fight other battles that have to do with important issues like land acquisition, compensation and livelihoods. The POSCO steel-cum-power-cum-port project in Odisha was given environment and forest clearance by the Ministry of Environment and Forests after a great deal of thought and a careful balancing of various factors. However, I hope that the state government will not use this clearance as a license for forcible acquisition of land. This was neither the intent nor the purpose of the clearance given by the MoE&F. I appeal to the Odisha government to ensure that land is acquired only through peaceful and law-governed means. While all parties should adhere to democratic norms and procedures, I earnestly hope that the state government will not take any precipitate action. Dialogue and discussion, not coercion is as essential to ecological security as it is to democracy.'
[In other words, Ramesh has no objection to the eviction of the people in the interests of international capital, he just doesn't want the process to become unseemly.]
I'm happy to report that the news isn't all bad:
iPhone4 now officially available in Odisha
Bhubaneswar: Good news for the Apple smartphone lovers, iPhone4 is now officially available in the state.
The phone is available through Aircel connection, which has introduced both pre-paid and post-paid plans for its customers.
The iPhone4 was unveiled by the Ollywood actress Archita sahu at Mayfair Convention, Bhubaneswar along with Mr. Vikas Kakwani, Circle Business Head of Aircel Odisha.
Near the top of my list of objections to capitalism is its perversity.