Relayed from ICJB, Bhopal, January 17, 2007
At least three land surveyors working for Tata Steel were beaten up Wednesday in Orissa’s Jajpur district by angry villagers who fear the company’s proposed steel plant in the region would displace them.
The incident took place at about 1.40 p.m. near Kalamatia village in Kalinganagar industrial complex, some 60 km from the district headquarters of Jajpur, when a team of GO Design, a private firm hired by the Tatas, was conducting contour surveys without informing the district administration, District Collector Arabinda Padhi told IANS.
At least 40 people of about three villages, Gadapur, Chandia and Baligotha, gathered at the site and attacked the surveyors and beat them up with sticks, he said.
There were about five surveyors though only three sustained injuries, the official said.
‘I have strictly instructed Tata Steel not to send any of its employees or experts to the troublesome land after the Kalinga Nagar incident,’ he said.
‘Although the situation is normal now, we have deployed police force in the area immediately after the incident,’ said Padhi who was camping at the spot.
At least 13 tribals were killed and several injured when police opened fired on hundreds of tribal agitators in the Kalinga Nagar industrial complex on Jan 2, 2006, located at a distance of about 100 km from state capital Bhubaneswar.
The tribals had clashed with police to protest against the construction of a boundary wall by Tata Steel.
They have blocked a highway since the day of the Kalinganagar firing. The police and district officials have failed in lifting the blockade despite several attempts.