Baliapal: People under the banner of Upakula Bhitamati Surakhya Committee (UBSC), which has been opposing the port project proposed at Choumukh and a petrochemical plaza in Baliapal area of Balasore district, detained a survey team Friday.
Officials of the team were conducting a survey travelling by a motorised boat in the sea. Some activists of UBSC dragged the boat ashore and detained the officials for two hours.
Later, with intervention of Baliapal police, the officials were set free from the project opponents. Reports said that the port project will be developed by the Tata Group.
For a long time, local people opposing the project have been keeping a strict vigil on the activities of the administration and the developer of the proposed port. The officials were busy conducting a survey in the sea for the proposed port project since Friday morning.
The UBSC had engaged some of its activists to keep track of the survey team. They entered seawater and intercepted the boat used by the survey team.
Later, hundreds of people from nearby villages led by UBSC secretary Arun Kumar Jena rushed to the spot and staged protest at Dagara Bada Gumuti Chhak. They held a roadside meeting against the port project and the petrochemical plaza.
“These projects will gobble up hectares of fertile land that sustain various crops and betel farming.” Jena said that about 60,000 people of six panchayats have vowed to oppose these projects, but the administration is hell-bent on facilitating the project.
Locals said that if the beach from Hanskara river mouth to Kankadapal is developed for tourism, local people will greatly benefit from it.
Notably, the port project at Choumukh requires around 3,000 acres. Nearly 1,215 acres will be used for the port and 1,561 acres will be required for constructing road and rail corridors between Haldipada and Choumukh.
For rail and road corridor, around 1,300 acres of private land spread over 55 villages of Sadar, Basta and Bhograi would be acquired. Estimated to cost Rs 2,400 crore, the port project will be executed under BOOST method and completed in three years.