PARADIP: Three persons, including anti-displacement leader Abhaya Sahu, were arrested on Tuesday night for staging demonstration outside the Paradip Refinery. He was leading hundreds of land losers and displaced families who had launched a demonstration in front of refinery under the aegis of Bhumihara Krushak Ekta Manch, demanding permanent jobs, since Monday. The two others are Congress leader and Zilla Parishad member Sarada Prasad Jena and leader of the outfit, Bipin Moharana.
As the refinery authorities did not heed their demands, the agitators blocked the road at IOCL site affecting production and official works in the last two days despite prohibitory orders on the site. No official was allowed to enter the plant by the agitators.
Subsequently, officials of Paradip Refinery lodged a complaint at Abhychandpur police station, leading to the arrests.
Protesting the police action, leader of Bhumihara Krushak Ekta Manch said the arrests are illegal as none of the three persons resorted to violence. “We are staging demonstration peacefully,” he said.
The IOCL had acquired 3,300 hectares (ha) of land for its oil refinery project in 17 villages under Kujang tehsil of Jagatsinghpur district. About 1,752 families were affected by the project. At least `49 crore was given to the families as compensation against the land acquired. However, they have also been demanding training for unemployed youths and peripheral development.
The agitators said they are determined to intensify the agitation. ASP Madhab Charan Sahu said three platoons of police personnel have been deployed around the refinery.
New Trade Union
A new trade union, Jagatsinghpur- Kendrapada Shilpanchal Sharmik Sangh, was on Wednesday formed comprising members of the BJP, environmentalists, construction workers and displaced families here. Attending the event, BJP leader Bijay Mohapatra said the new trade union will fight for the rights of land losers and labourers in both Kendrapara and Jagatsinghpur districts. He said although a lot of small and big industries are being set up in Paradip, nothing is being done to improve people’s lives. He came down heavily on IOCL for ignoring land losers’ demand for permanent employment in the Paradip refinery. The event was attended by BJP MLA Dilip Ray.