Govt continues land acquisition amid protests

Bhubaneswar: The Jagatsinghpur district administration which continued the land acquisition process for third straight day on Tuesday, faced resistance from the anti-Posco group in Govindpur village with some of the agitators sitting on strike.

The exercise involving 14 platoons of police force, also invited verbal duels between the government officials and Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS), a local outfit which has been protesting the proposed steel plant since 2005, with the latter demanding immediate withdrawal of police force from the site.

“If the government has minimum respect for the democratic revolution, it must withdraw forces from the site,” PPSS leader Abhay Sahu said adding he would continue the strike until forces are removed.

Meanwhile, police officials said that the number of betel vine growers willing to handover their lands for the project, has increased and the operation is being conducted in a peaceful manner.

“Today we have so far dismantled 20 betel vineyards and disbursed Rs 25 lakh to the beneficiaries. If the exercise continues in this pace, we aim to demolish about 50 yards (betel vine) by end of the day,” Collector SK Mallick said.

In last two days, the state government razed 25 such yards and disbursed Rs 45 lakh to the land owners.

Expressing satisfaction with co-operation of the locals, SP Satyabrat Bhoi said, “Formation of two teams has eased the exercise and we hope the land acquisition process is hastened with the co-operation of Govindpur villagers.”