Jagatsinghpur, October 26 (Odisha.in) Dr. Damodar Rout, who was thrown out of the ministry by chief minister Naveen Patnaik a year ago, seems to be all set to woo over his good will now by launching a pro-POSCO campaign in the state.
After dropping from his ministry Patnaik was maintaining respectable distance from Rout. Even sources said Rout had started establishing rapport with anti-Naveen elements inside and outside the party.
However making every body surprise all on a sudden Rout seems to have started defending Patnaik and the government with a hope that he will return to the ministry.
POSCO management found it difficult to proceed with the land acquisition and construction work for their 12million tones per annum mega steel plant at Paradip.
The fate of the project has become uncertain because of the opposition to it by anti-POSCO activists led by Abhaya Sahu of Posco Pratiridh Sangram Samiti and also by the members of Nav Nirman Samiti.
The location of the site comes under Erasama assembly constituency that Rout represents. Rout wanted to use this as an opportunity to woo over Chief Minister Patnaik by carrying on a pro-POSCO campaign to pave way for the South Korean company to go ahead with its plans, sources said.
Recently, Rout met the chief minister and assured him to defuse the anti-POSCO agitation at any cost. He had reportedly pleaded that adequate police arrangements should be made to provide protection to the POSCO employees whom the company has withdrawn from the area, according to sources close to him said.
Following such discussions on Wednesday, Rout organized a public meeting at Konogoli, and pleaded people that POSCO will bring all round development of the district and nearby areas and the whole state.
He came down heavily on the anti-POSCO agitators and criticized anti project activist for using women and small children in their campaign against the proposed plant.
Although Rout’s supporters claim that the meeting has impact on the local people. Anti-POSCO agitators have virtually taken up Dr. Rout’s move as a challenge.
They claim that Rout is taking such “anti-people” step only to get a berth in Naveen Patnaik’s council of ministers.
Abhaya Sahoo, of POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti told Odisha.in that the people of this area are determined not to allow the South Korean company to go ahead with construction work for its proposed steel plant.
He said that the Samiti has already refused to have dialogue with the government. The state government is keen to safeguard the interests of the multi nationals than that of the poor people, he said.
He warned that the people would intensify agitation if the government applies force to suppress democratic agitation of the people.