Odisha Minister blames Posco & dist officials for agitation

Bhubaneswar: An Odisha minister on Sunday alleged that a section of officials of Posco and Jagatsinghpur district administration were responsible for the ongoing agitation by a group of people demanding a hike in the compensation paid to land losers and involvement of local people in the construction of the company’s boundary wall.

“I know a group of Posco’s Indian employees and Jagatsinghpur district administration are misleading the people living in the proposed plant site villages,” Odisha Health Minister Damodar Rout, who is also the BJD MLA from Paradip said.

Alleging that the people are not being given compensation as per the decision of the RPDAC (The Rehabilitation and Peripheral Development Advisory Committee), Rout claimed while some people get maximum benefit, others do not get the same.

Rout said this referring to the ongoing agitation by some project supporters before the Tehsil office at Kujang since three days.

“This apart, though it was decided at the RPDAC meeting that the villagers would be given opportunity to work during construction phase, the local youths are not involved in the boundary wall construction activities,” he alleged.

However, Rout’s allegations were rejected by Jagatsinghpur district collector S K Mallick.

“The people who lose betel vine land are being given compensation at the rate of Rs 11.50 lakh per acre. We go by all the decisions made at the RPDAC meeting in 2010,” Mallick said.

Meanwhile, the agitating people said that though they have been supporting the project since beginning, they are not involved in the boundary construction work.

“How can the people remain silent when the company carried out boundary wall construction work without addressing our genuine demands,” said Tamil Pradhan.