After the National Green Tribunal issued a status quo, the district administration has stopped felling trees in Gobindapur. However, land acquisition by dismantling betel vines has not been stopped.

Arguing that the Tribunal’s notification has called for halt to felling of trees in proposed Posco area, not demolition of betel vines, the district administration has dismantled betel vines and dug trench in Gobindapur for land acquisition.

In-charge Special Land Acquisition Officer Sarat Kumar Purohit said, “The administration respects the verdict of Green Tribunal and therefore we have completely stopped tree cutting in Gobindapur.”

“As the betel vines do not come under forest cover, we have dismantled nearly 12 vines by disbursing Rs 15.01 lakh to their owners as compensation. Our team has also dug 30 metres of trench on Wednesday,” added Purohit.

Meanwhile, the anti-Posco activists have rebuilt betel vines protesting illegal demolition of their vines on Wednesday. The activists have also threatened to commit mass suicide if forcible demolition of betel vines continues. Protesting the administration’s stand on the Tribunal’s order, the activists of Posco Pratirodha Sangram Samiti (PPSS) conducted a meeting at Patanahat and vowed to intensify agitation against forcible demolition of betel vines.

Jharana Jena, wife of Manas Jena, who was killed in bomb explosion at Patana, attempted suicide after the administration demolished her betel vines forcibly. Earlier, another betel vine owner had also attempted suicide for the same cause. PPSS woman leader Manorama Khatua said, “Anti-Posco activists have vowed to commit mass suicide if forcible demolition continues.”

Anti-Posco activists led by Abhiram Swain and three others, whose betel vines were demolished without their consent, have rebuilt their vines.

Official sources said the district administration has demolished nearly 350 betel vines of pro-Posco families while 70 to 80 vines of anti-Posco activists still exist in the area of the proposed Posco plant. Those will also be demolished as the administration had served notice in this regard last week.

Courtesy: The New Indian Express

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