People’s Movement in Transition: Case of Jagatsinghpur, Odisha

Souvik Lal Chakraborty

Monash University, Melbourne, Australia

The people of Jagatsinghpur, Odisha, India experienced a successful people’s movement against the Korean steel giant Pohang Iron and Steel Company (POSCO) from the year 2011-2016. In 2005 the Korean Steel giant POSCO signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of Odisha to invest US$12 billion for building an integrated steel project in Odisha. The people of Jagatsinghpur were initially able to stall the project as the land acquisition process began and finally, in 2016, succeeded in removing POSCO from the project site. The government of Odisha is keen on supporting extractive industries and they decided to transfer the same land to another business conglomerate JSW Utkal Steel Limited in 2018. And yet again, Jagatsinghpur is turning into a ground of mass resistance – awaiting conflict between the people and the mighty Indian state. The objective of this paper is to explore the problems and prospects of a people’s movement which is in transition from one historical juncture to the other. In a social constructivist and interpretative perspective this paper will examine the social conditions and the complex relationship of several actors which enable these movements. This paper will explore the continuities and divergences between the previous movement and the current movement against JSW Utkal. It will also focus on the evolving nature of leadership in the current movement against JSW Utkal.


Souvik Lal Chakraborty completed his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Jadavpur University, India. After completing his undergraduate studies, Souvik was selected as an esteemed Young India Fellow (2012-13) to continue his Postgraduate Diploma in Liberal Arts. Souvik completed his Master’s in Democratic Governance and Civil Society from the University of Osnabrück, Germany as a DAAD Public Policy and Good Governance Scholar. Currently he is enrolled as a Doctoral Research Scholar at Monash University, Australia.
Souvik’s doctoral research will provide an in-depth analysis of people’s movement in India with specific focus on the eastern state of Odisha. This research will also analyse the developmental pathway India is currently following and how it is affecting the cultural identity of the marginalised and the tribal communities in the country. This research will also address new insights in context of people’s movement in India and the tenacious issues of injustice and inequality. Souvik’s research interests highlight environmental governance, human rights, social rights and regional politics of South Asia



The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is the peak body of university experts and educators on Asia in Australia. Established in 1976, we promote and support the study of Asia in Australian universities and knowledge of Asia among the broader community. Our membership is drawn mainly from academics and students, but also includes industry and government Asia experts. We take a strong interest in promoting knowledge about Asia in schools and in contributing to state and Commonwealth government policies related to Asia. We provide informed comment on Asia to a broad public through our bulletin, Asian Currents, and specialist research articles in our journal, Asian Studies Review. Four book series published under our auspices cover Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Women in Asia.

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