State DGP, IDCO CMD visit Posco area

Bhubaneswar: As part of Orissa government`s plan to resume work at the proposed plant site of South Korean steel major Posco near Paradip, Director General of Police and CMD of Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation today undertook a joint survey of the troubled area.

DGP Manmohan Praharaj and IDCO CMD Priyabrat Patnaik visited Posco`s proposed captive port site at Jatadhar near the sea and other peripheral areas of the proposed plant site but refrained from going to the plant site villages where people erected bamboo gates to prevent the entry of government officials and company staff.

The state government had stopped land acquisition work at these villages in August last year in view of a "stop work" order from the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF).

However, with the Ministry giving conditional clearance to the Posco project on January 31, the state government was taking measures to resume work and complete land acquisition, sources said.

"IDCO is supposed to construct the road to the plant site and the boundary wall. Therefore, we visited the area to seethe ground situation," Patnaik told reporters after the duo spent about two hours in the area.

There was, however, no opposition to the DGP and IDCO CMD`s visit as their programme was made without any prior information.

DGP and IDCO CMD also held a closed door meeting with local revenue officials and police before returning to the state capital.

While the Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) activists had already vowed to oppose the 12 mtpa steel project at any cost, the state government was equally determined to implement the Rs 52,000 crore project.

Before taking any step towards force mobilisation in the area, the state police chief visited the place to feel the pulse of the local people, an official said.

The visit of the senior officials came after Chief Secretary B K Patnaik reviewed the situation relating to the implementation of the Posco project.

"Both Praharaj and Patnaik will submit a joint report to the chief secretary about the ground situation before the government takes any further step towards force mobilisation at the proposed plant site area," the official said.