State govt needs more 450 acres for Posco

Bhubaneswar/Paradip: The state government on Thursday claimed to have acquired 250 acres of land in Govindpur area where it resumed land acquisition exercise last Sunday after a gap of one and a half year.

Notably, South Korean steel major Posco's proposed plant near Paradip in Jagatsinghpur district with an investment of Rs 52000 crore requires a total 2,700 acres of lands of which the Odisha government earlier had acquired 2000 acres.
The district administration on Wednesday was forced to halt the operation midway in view of stiff resistance by locals and members of Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS), a local outfit which has been spearheading the anti-Posco drive since 2005. According to government officials they were able to dismantle 55 betel vines and disbursed Rs 1.17 crore as compensation to the cultivators during the four-day operation.

“The process is on even as we have halted the land acquisition process temporarily,” Collector SK Mallick said.

 Leaders of different political parties, meanwhile, accompanied the anti-displacement activists at Patana Hata and demanded complete withdrawal of security force.

CPI national secretary and MP D Raja on Thursday met the agitators at the plant site near Patana Hata where PPSS president Abhay Sahu was on strike demanding withdrawal of force from the region. Raja, who flayed the ‘midnight entry of police’ into proposed plant site to facilitate land acquisition, led a demonstration from Patana hata to Govindpur.

“They (government officials) cannot do anything against the will of the people. People are fighting for the livelihood and rights. Why state government has not understood the problems of the locals”, Raja said at the agitation site asserting that the agitation will continue.

Meanwhile, social activist Swami Agnivesh is scheduled to visit the proposed plant site on Friday. On the other hand, the State Steel and Mines department wrote to the IPICOL and IDCO asking to submit an up-to-date status report on the progress of the project.