PPSS ridicules State govt, vows to continue anti-Posco stir

Bhubaneswar: Ridiculing Odisha government's claim that land acquisition for the proposed Posco project near Paradip was complete, CPI-backed Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) today said demolition of betel vines did not mean taking over possession of farmers' land.
 
"Demolition of betel vines by using force does not mean land acquisition. They demolished 488 betel vines at Gobindpur of which 150 were broken by using force. These people have not received compensation," said Sisir Mohapatra, PPSS secretary and Sarpanch of Dhinkia Gram Panchayat.
 
Mohapatra, who is leading the anti-Posco stir after arrest of PPSS president Abhay Sahu, said the farmers would continue their stir against the South Korean steel major.
 
Mohapatra said PPSS would not allow the state government and Posco to put their feet on Dhinkia village, considered as strategic for the Proposed steel project.
 
"Unless they get Dhinkia, Posco cannot construct coastal road and therefore may not operationalise its SEZ," Mohapatra pointed out.
 
The Jagatsinghpur district administration yesterday said they have acquired 2,700 acre of land.
 
CPI leader Ramakrushna Panda said it was not a defeat for the eight-year-old anti-Posco agitation, "Do not draw any conclusion now. Posco has not taken an inch of land to its possession though the state government have handed them over some 1700 acre."
 
Panda claimed that people have not been given adequate compensation.
 
"The paltry compensation given for betel vines and prawn pond failed to satisfy the people facing displacement.
 
The people who are said to be supporting the project are gradually becoming opponents," he said.
 
Meanwhile, there was a sign of relief in the state government which could finally acquire land for the steel project. "Government's strategy of wait and watch became successful," said a senior official.
 
While signing MoU with the state government in 2005, Posco-India had sought 4,004 acre of land for setting up a 12 mtpa steel mill, but later it agreed to scale down the capacity to 8 mtpa for the land requirement was 2700 acre.