Over 700 families to be displaced for Posco: Govt

Bhubaneswar:  About 718 families from six villages near Paradip in Jagatsinghpur district will be displaced for Posco`s Rs 51,000-crore steel project. The state government in separate letters to Union Ministries of Steel and Commerce said about 718 families from six villages of Dhinkia, Govindpur, Bhuyanpal, Noliasahi, Polanga and Nuagaon would be displaced for establishing the 8 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) steel plant near Paradip.

The state government`s status reports were submitted to separate ministries as the Centre wanted to know about the status of the Posco project, one of the biggest FDI into the country. The Posco issue also figured at the 4th meeting of the Korea-India Joint Investment Promotion Committee (JIPC). "The status report will also be discussed at the next review meeting by the secretary of steel ministry," a state government official said.

The government also informed that the construction of rehabilitation colonies was in full swing to house families facing displacement due to the proposed mega steel plant and eviction work on encroachers over de-reserved forest land had been stopped. With both the state government and the South Korean steel major agreeing to downsize capacity of the proposed plant from 12 mtpa to 8 mtpa, a revised proposal for 2,700 acres of land was submitted by the company, they said adding that initially company required 4,004 acres land.

Stating that 52 displaced families were staying at transit colony at Badagabapur village in Jagatsinghpur district, the state government said five families of Govindpur, ostracised by Posco opponents and staying in the rehabilitation colony, had returned to their houses after a gap of six years. Referring to opposition to the project, the state government maintained that about 200 local villagers were engaged in the construction of the rehabilitation colony.

According to the approval of RPDAC (rehabilitation and peripheral development advisory committee), the state government mentioned in the letter that each displaced family would be provided with a three-roomed house with verandah, kitchen, bathroom and toilet with plinth area of 743 square feet and cattle shed with a plinth area of 203 square feet. Also, Rs 5,000 would be given for transportation to each family.

While the work at the project site had been stopped with the National Green Tribunal suspending the environment clearance accorded to the project, a large number of casurina trees were felled besides bush cutting and clearing done over an area of 1,800 acres of government land. "Rs 9 crore was paid as compensation for betel vines, Rs 1 crore for prawn gheris and Rs 2 crore for horticulture trees to people," the status report said, adding that there had been no activity over the private land.