UAC threatens to boycott land acquisition process

Bhubaneswar: In the backdrop of state government getting ready to resume land acquisition for the South Korean steel major Posco, members of United Action Committee (UAC) a pro-Posco outfit — on Sunday warned that it will not cooperate with the administration in acquisition of land for the project unless its 29 charter of demands are met.

The setback has come days before the beginning of land acquisition work from May 18.

As the count-down for the land acquisition has begun , a crucial meeting is scheduled on Monday to be joined by the UAC officials, the district collector of Jagatsighpur and MLA Prasant Muduli who represents Balikuda-Ersama assembly constituency.

Earlier on May 9, in a UAC meeting at Kunjabihari peeth in Gadkujang, the decision was taken ‘not to cooperate, if the demands are not met.’ On Monday UAC will again meet at Ersama to discuss its charter of demands.

While Muduli has expressed his hope that Monday’s meeting would find out some a solution, former agriculture minister Dr. Damodar Rout, who represents Paradeep assembly constituency said that the administration should agree to some of the demands of UAC. 

Anadi Charan Rout, President, United Action Committee said, “Tomorrow in our meeting in the Ersama Panchayat Samiti office, we will present our charter of demands to the administration, if they do not accept our demands, we will not co-operate them.” 

On Saturday Jagatsighpur district collector had a meeting with Rout in this connection. However, Rout expressed his unwillingness to join Monday’s meeting because of his ill heath.

“I hope when the UAC will present its demands before the administration, the administration will find them favaourable,” said Prasant Muduli, MLA, Balikuda-Ersama.

“The Government can sort out the issue, if it talks and listens to the people involved,”
said Dr. Damodar Rout, MLA Paradeep.

Following the Centre’s final environmental clearance for the $12-billion mega project on May 2, when the state government decided on the date to resume land acquisition, UAC expressed displeasure for not being consulted on this and later  Priyabrata Patnaik, CMD, IDCO announced that the land acquisition on May-18 will not include the private land of Dhinkia panchayat.

The 29-point charter demands include bigger ex-gratia sum for home stead land, employment to at least one member of each displaced family, inclusion of betel vines demolished in 2008 in the enumeration exercise and offering priority to locals in construction and contracts work.

“The proposed meeting between Joint Action Committee and administration is just an eye-wash,” said Abhay Sahu, President of Pratirdh Sangram Samiti (PSS).

PSS has plans to give stiff resistance on May 18 if the land acquisition is carried out.