Thursday, June 26, 2008

Tribals protest against India steel project

BHUBANESWAR, India, June 26 (Reuters) - Hundreds of tribal people armed with bows and arrows stormed a proposed factory site in eastern India of one of the country's biggest steel companies, Tata Steel Ltd (TISC.BO: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), police said on Thursday.About 300 tribal people protesting the acquisition of tribal land for the factory set seven vehicles on fire in Orissa state on Wednesday and beat up villagers who were employed to build a boundary wall, police and company officials said.Police later chased them away, said K.C. Mund, a senior police officer from Bhubaneswar, capital of Orissa state.The issue of acquiring farmland for factories has become a controversial one as industrialisation gathers pace in India. There have been scores of often violent protests against major industrial projects in recent years.Tata Steel signed an accord with the state government in 2004 to build a 6 million-tonne-a-year steel plant.At least 14 people, including 13 tribal members, were killed by police firing on hundreds of protesters in 2006 during a protest against the construction of the boundary wall."We will not allow any further displacement in the region due to the project," Rabindra Jarika, a protest leader said.A Tata Steel spokesman said displaced people were being looked after."Land losers have been even given work by the company to construct the boundary wall," the spokesman said in Orissa.Tata Steel were forced to shelve plans to start construction in November last year."We are hopeful about starting work soon, the spokesman said." (Reporting by Jatindra Dash; Editing by Bappa Majumdar and Sanjeev Miglani)

No comments: