No deadlock over Posco project: Govt

Bhubaneswar: Temporary suspension of land acquisition for Posco project in the proposed plant site area near Paradip was no "deadlock", said state chief secretary B K Patnaik on Friday.

"Stoppage of land acquisition for the time being should not be considered as a deadlock over Posco project," he said adding the district administration of Jagatsinghpur had been assigned the responsibilities of motivating people in support of the mega steel project.

Patnaik, who reviewed the progress made so far in the Rs 52,000-crore project, said state government would acquire required land peacefully. Revenue Divisional Commissioner (RDC), central division, Jagastsinghpur district collector, DGP and other senior officials attended the review meeting.

Rejecting allegation of use of force for land acquisition, Patnaik said it is responsibility of the district administration to make people aware about benefits of the project. "We are hopeful agitating people will understand the ground reality and cooperate with administration," he said.

Meanwhile, steel and mines minister Raghunath Mohanty said there was no need for an anti-Posco agitation as the villagers were coming forward to give their land. "However, some people are preventing villagers from giving their land for the project," he said.

The state government had so far acquired 1800 acre land of the total requirement of 3719 acre. Work for the rehabilitation colony has already started, Mohanty said adding the state government was confident of acquiring 3719 acre of land peacefully without using force.

Even as the state government claimed that villagers were ready to give their land, hundreds of children, women, elderly persons and youths continued their dharna at Gobindpur opposing land acquisition. "We have completed 16 days here at the dharna site," said Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) women wing chief Manorama Khatua.