Govt firm to continue land acquisition process

Bhubaneswar:  The Jagatsinghpur district administration on Sunday resumed the land acquisition process at the proposed Posco plant site near Govindpur in Jagatsinghpur district which was thwarted one and a half year back due to stiff public resistance over dismantling of betel vineyards and felling of trees.

“We’ll continue the land acquisition process here until all the betel vineyards of the cultivators who are willing to hand over their lands voluntarily to the government for the project (Posco) is completed,” said Jagatsinghpur district collector Satya Kumar Mallick adding that all necessary steps were taken to prevent any untoward incident.

“We have also deployed 12 platoons of police to protect the farmers in demolishing their (betel vine) yards for which they had sought security from district administration,” stated Mallick who was monitoring the process along with district superintendent of police Satyabrat Bhoi.

The operation stalled mid way after security forces confronted over 100 anti-Posco agitators in the small hours of Sunday who tried to block their way into the village. The scuffle later turned violent causing injury to at least three women, eye witnesses said.

Bhoi refuting the charges said, “The process has so far been peaceful and no one is hurt in the incident. As we are aware that women and children are being used as human shields, we have kept ready our lady cops to prevent any such incident.”

The Sunday move by district administration aims at acquiring an additional 700 acres of land required for the mega project by the South Korean steel giant for which it had already taken into possession 2,000 acres.