ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Pyrrhic Victory for the People’s Movement

POSCO’s announcement of its withdrawal from Odisha is a major victory for the small farmers, forest dwellers and fisherfolk who have opposed the steel project since 2005. The victory celebrations of the local communities, however, have been muted because their struggle against corporate greed, and the destruction of land and habitats has left them with over 2,000 warrants for arrest, 400 police cases, lives lost, livelihoods disrupted, communities fractured, and the constant memory of violence and repression.

If the eastern coast of Odisha has not been marred by the construction of a mega steel plant, if the land and ecology have been preserved from further damage, if the coffers of global capital are a wee bit impoverished, and most significantly, if the local people continue to remain on the lands they belong to, it is largely due to the sustained resistance of the people’s movement in Jagatsinghpur district of Odisha.

In early 2015, an amendment to the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act (MMDRA), 1957 made it mandatory for the South Korean steel giant POSCO (formerly Pohang Iron and Steel Company) to participate in the auction for iron ore in the Kandahar mountains along with other bidders. POSCO thus forfeited the easy access to captive iron ore reserves it had been assured by the Odisha government until then. In addition, fluctuations in the demand for steel in the global market disrupted POSCO’s plans.

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Updated On : 16th Oct, 2017
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