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Work at Posco site resumes after 10 days

Paradip: Work at the proposed site for Posco’s controversial Rs. 52,000-crore steel project in Jagatsinghpur district resumed on Tuesday after remaining stalled since June 26.

“Work in Gadakujanga and Nuagaon areas is going on today,” Jagatsinghpur district collector N.C. Jena said.

Felling of trees and clearing of forest area and acquired betel-vine farms were continuing in Gadakujanga and Nuagaon areas, official sources said, adding steps were also taken for ground levelling.

In Polanga-Noliasahi area of Nuagaon panchayat, where rehabilitation colony for displaced people was proposed to be constructed, sand filling and other civil works were in progress, Mr. Jena said.

Work had come to a halt after villagers and activists of United Action Committee (UAC), an outfit backing the mega project, staged dharna demanding immediate fulfilment of their six-point demands including enhanced compensation to land losers and proper rehabilitation.

Following talks with district authorities on July one, UAC leaders agreed to cooperate and allow work in the land already acquired for the project, the sources said.

Meanwhile, protesting resumption of work in the area, a group of people under the banner of Bhitamati Surakshya Manch (BSM) organised a meeting and dharna at Nuagoan.

“We oppose any type of work in the area,” Bhaskar Swain, Sarpanch of Nuagaon panchayat said.

People owing allegiance to BSM moved around in nearby villages beating a cymbal to garner support for their cause.

Similarly, at Dhinkia, considered the epicentre of anti-Posco protests, Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samitti (PPSS) continued its dharna with a three-tier human chain.

The district administration was in a fix as to how to break the chain as it comprised children at the forefront followed by old women and youths who were guarding the areas in Dhinkia panchayat round-the-clock by erecting wooden gates at different entry points.

Gadakujanga, Nuagaon and Dhinkia are three gram panchayats in Jagatsinghpur district chosen for setting up the Posco plant by South Korean steel major.

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