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Bardhan, Basudev ask state govt to scrap Posco

Paradip: Left parties today urged the state government to scrap the proposed Posco project near here respecting the people`s sentiment. "The state government should refrain from acquiring land forcibly and scrap the project. Acquiring land for a project without having any agreement is illegal," veteran CPI leader A B Bardhan said.

"The local people have been agitating against the project for the last seven years. This is a clear indication that the people do not want the project here," Bardhan told a a protest rally at the proposed plant site village marking the seventh anniversary of the MoU for the mega steel plant.

Bardhan, who has been opposing the project since the Odisha government signed an MoU with the South Korean steel major for setting up a 12mtpa steel mill in June 22, 2005, said the people of Dhinkia gram panchayat, the epi-centre of anti-Posco movement, were kept in captivity in their villages as they were opposed to the project.

"Whoever comes out of the village is framed in a fake case," he alleged. CPI (M) MP Basudev Acharia, urged Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to drive away Posco in the interest of the local people. "Drive out Posco, if the government does not take any action," Acharia said. Meanwhile, Chief Secrertary B K Patnaik said "The state government will soon sign a tripatite agreement for establishment of the Posco project."

As the MoU signed in June, 2005 had lapsed in 2010, it was necessary to conclude a fresh one with the steel major, he said. "We have already acquired 2000 acre for setting up the steel plant and the remaining 600 acre would also be acquired in a peaceful manner," Patnaik said.

Posco-India, the Indian subsidiary of Posco, has revised its plan and proposed to start with a 8 mtpa plant instead of 12 mtpa. The company was proposing to invest Rs 52,000 crore for setting up the steel plant near here. With anti-Posco agitation continuing for seven years, at least two persons have so far been killed and many injured in clashes. As many as 170 cases relating to the Posco project have been registered at the Kujang police station since 2005.

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