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Orissa rally to celebrate dumping of university plan

Wednesday December 01, 2010 08:26:46 AM, IANS

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Protests in Orissa over varsity land issue

Orissa's opposition Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Thursday organised separate demonstrations against the state government's irregularities in acquiring land for a proposed university.    »

Bhubaneswar: Thousands of people from a cross-section of society Tuesday took out a motorcycle rally in Orissa's Puri district as a mark of their victory in forcing the government to dump its plans to set up the Vedanta University in the region.

Raising slogans against the government and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, the protesters began their rally at Puri town and converged at the Beladala village - the proposed site of the project, some 60 km from here.

Several leaders of opposition parties like the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party were among those addressed the gathering.

It was a rare occasion when leaders of both the rival parties were seen sharing the dais over an issue.

The rally was organized by the Vedanta Viswa Vidyalaya Virodhi Sangharsha Samiti - a local organization which led the agitation against the project.

A division bench of the Orissa High Court earlier this month quashed the process of land acquisition for the proposed university and directed the authorities to return the acquired land to its owners.

"We welcomed the court decision. Besides we wanted to convey our anger to the government which has been pushing the project illegally compromising the interest of the state and the people," Uma Ballav Rath, a protest leader, told IANS.

The Anil Agarwal Foundation, promoted by NRI industrialist and chairman of Britain-based Vedanta Resources Anil Agarwal, was setting up the multi-disciplinary Vedanta University near the Konark-Puri marine drive.

The university was to come up in over 6,000 acres of land with a phased investment of Rs.150 billion ($3.5 billion). Chief minister Patnaik had earlier said his government may appeal against the high court judgment in the apex court.







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