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Mahasweta blows the bugle against land acquisition

Posted by Admin on September 11, 2009

[Mahasweta_Devi.jpg]BHUBANESWAR: Noted writer and social activist Mahasweta Devi has extended her support to the ongoing agitation across Orissa against land
acquisition by the state government for different mega projects.

In a press release issued here, the writer expressed shock that the government had been on an alleged land grabbing spree for projects “snuffing the future and livelihood of the poor.”

On the Vedanta university project in Puri, she wondered why the government had been acquiring the land of Jagannath and others. “If this gets a sanction, what will happen to India’s other heritage sites? I will personally come time and again to demand that the project be scrapped,” she said. She described the project, for which the state government is trying to acquire 6,000 acres of land and has been facing stiff resistance, as “loot”. “Large tracks of agriculture land is being taken by the government in the name of an imaginary university,” she said.

Mahasweta Devi had come to the city and visited the tribal school functioning on the KIIT campus. “I heard about Sundargarh, Kalahandi’s Lanjigarh-Niyamgiri tribals. I am sorry to say, no government should behave with the simple-hearted, nature-loving tribals in an inhuman manner. Be it West Bengal’s Lalgarh or Orissa’s Sundargarh, I am with the tribals, with the cause of the people,” she said in the release.

The stand taken by the 73-year old Ramon Magsaysay award winner is seen here as a boost for villagers in several districts. These people have been braving alleged police brutalities, arrests and administrative harassment to save agricultural and forest lands, which are the sole source of survival for majority of people in the state.

Meanwhile, reports reaching here said villagers at the proposed Posco project site near Paradip on Thursday held a meeting and reiterated their stand not to leave the land for the mega steel project. Among others, social activists B D Sharma and Prafulla Samantray addressed the meeting.

Posco Pratirodhaka Sangram Samiti president Abhaya Sahoo, who was recently released from jail after more than 10 months in prison, was felicitated at the meeting. TOI

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