Dist admn resumes land acquisition for Posco amid protest

Paradip: The proposed Posco plant site at Govindpur near here turned furious following a face-off between police and locals over demolition of betel vines in the small hours of Sunday, when the district administration resumed the land acquisition process statlled due to public resentment over a year ago.
Tension ran high at Govindpur-Nuagaon border, the plant site in Jagatsinghpur district, while administrative officials ventured into the village in early hours and allegedly demolished the betel vines without taking consent of the cultivators. The officials also allegedly felled some trees in the area aggravating the situation further more, sources said.
Anti-Posco activists, who have been against the government's decision to set up the plant since long, vehemently opposed such act of the administration resulting in a clash between police and protestors. In order to disperse the agitators, police resorted to lathicharge in which three women were injured, villagers alleged.
Apprehending further tension, 12 platoons of police have been deployed at the site. The collector and superintendent of police have reached the spot and monitored the situation.
“The pro-posco betel farmers are willing to hand over their lands and have sought police protection as anti –industry groups are persuading them not to hand over lands. So, forces have been deployed at the site amid which the demolition of betel vines will continue,” Jagatsinghpur collector SK Mallik said.
About 2,000 acres of land have been acquired so far for the Rs 52,000 crore project while the administration has contemplated to acquire nearly 700 acres of land required for the project.
Earlier, the anti-Posco activists under the banner of Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) had prevented the government officials to enter the area by making human chain. The issue had created nationwide hue and cry putting the state government in trouble.
On January 28, Union Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma had assured the South Korean government of reviewing the progress of Posco work at the Partnership Summit in Agra. Expressing concern over inordinate delay in work progress, South Korean Minister of Knowledge Economy Sukwoo Hong had said the biggest Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) project would strengthen economic ties between two countries.