Anti-Posco activists intensify opposition, dig roads

Bhubaneswar: A day after DGP of Orissa police and CMD of Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (IDCO) undertook a joint survey at the troubled Posco plant site near Paradip, the connecting road was on Sunday dug up at seveal places.

"We will prevent government officials and company staff from entering the proposed plant site. The villagers will stall any attempt to repair the road," Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) president Abhay Sahu told reporters.

DGP Manmohan Praharaj and IDCO CMD Priyabrat Patnaik yesterday visited Posco`s proposed captive port site at Jatadhar and peripherial area to take stock of the situation.

Patnaik also revealed state government`s plan to construct road to the proposed plant site from Paradip.

While villagers guarded proposed plant site erecting bamboo gates and prevented entry of officials and police, the administration chalked out a plan to develop the alternative road instead of confronting agitators, sources said.

The state government had already made it clear it would not acquire over 300 acre private land from Dhinkia village, the epi-centre of anti-Posco agitation. "The company had also agreed to leave some 300 acre of private land at Dhinkia due to opposition," Chief Secretary B K Patnaik said.

According to the new strategy adopted by the state government to expedite the project, delayed by over five years, it would start work over government land in initial phase leaving behind the land owned by private persons.

Of the 4004 acre of land originally planned for the Rs 52,000 crore project, people own around 438 acre of private land. The government land also comprised about 2958.82 acre forest land which required diversion clearance from the Ministry of Environment and Forest before starting work.

"We will start work at an appropriate time after getting due permission from the MoEF," Steel and Mines Minister Raghunath Mohanty said.

Before the land is handed over to the South Korean company, the state owned IDCO would construct the road to the plant site and the boundary wall.