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Women Fight for a Cause
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We see here faces of a few dauntless women of the Nuagaon village of Orissa who appeared at a media conference in Bhubaneswar for an outstanding cause. "Come what may we will not allow ourselves to be displaced", they declared.

They were protesting against the proposed the mega steel plant to be set up by POSCO on their land, which would render them homeless.

They made an interesting revelation to the media. They said that they had "kept" their husbands in their home and were themselves leading the movement against the steel plant as they feared repressive action by the police against their husbands. Their apprehension had valid ground since the Orissa Government had already deployed 12 platoons of police personnel in their area.

"If we are at the front, the police will not dare to touch us. If our men come to confront them, the police will surely take strong action against them", said Rohita Swain an activist of the women’s group, as reported in newspapers.

"If policemen enter our village to help POSCO take our land, they will have to kill us first. We will no longer create barricades to block their entry, but will ourselves stand as barriers on their way." Said Nirupama Rout, another woman of the group.

We salute our daring sisters of Nuagaon village who have shown that the spirit of Oriya women knows no bounds when it comes to serving a great cause. It shows that when necessity arises they can come out of their kitchens to prove their mettle.

But while we appreciate the spirit of this exemplary group of women, we are prompted to pause a while to consider the extent to which the cause for which they are fighting is justified. No doubt their grievances need to be addressed and resolved. But does it mean that the proposed steel  project should to be shelved for the  purpose of protecting their interest ?

There could be alternative solutions. Let the displaced families be compensated adequately on all terms. Besides financial compensations they should be provided alternative land and houses at a place of their choice. Employment of at least one person of each displaced family in the proposed steel plant would also be a soothing factor. We think with compensation packages of this nature the locals should be prepared to co-operate in setting up of the steel plant. Let us bear in mind that in spite of being rich in natural resources and quality manpower Orissa lags behind in industrialisation. This is one of the causes of our acute poverty and unemployment. When multinational companies are coming forward to set up industries here staking high investments, they need to be welcomed and encouraged.

But while setting up such industries it is very important that the grievances of the local population should be handled sensitively. Their sense of hurt should be taken into account while formulating compensation packages for them. Because no enterprise can ever be successful if it is set up on tear-soaked soil.

OPINION POLL
What do you think is the best solution for the above mentioned problem?

The Steel Plant should not be allowed to be set up.
The Steel plant should be set up, but adequate compensation should be provided to affected families.
The objections raised by the affected families may be ignored.


View Results

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Editor : Sujata Satpathy