Paradip (Odisha): Amidst stiff opposition from the villagers, Odisha government had been able to acquire 2,630 acre of land against the initial requirement of 2,700 acre of land for setting up an 8 mtpa Greenfield mega steel facility by Posco-India in Odisha's Jagtsinghpur district, official sources said.
"We require only 70 acre of land to reach the target of 2,700 acre of land for the purpose of Posco's mega steel plant in Dhinkia area," said Surjit Das, additional district magistrate (ADM) posted at Paradip.
Stating that the administration was close to finish the controversial land acquisition activities soon, Das said the South Korean steel major had already been handed over 2,100 of land so far.
"We are hopeful to complete the land acquisition work with cooperation of the people soon," said S K Mallick, the district collector of Jagatsingpur, after the winding up the day's work.
During the day, the district administration with help of Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (IDCO), demolished at least eight betel vines and fell above 800 horticulture plants for acquiring land at Gobindpur village, one of the seven villages identified to locate the Rs 52,000 crore mega project.
Meanwhile, the anti-project brigade held a protest meeting at Patana village and raised question on the land acquisition for Posco project against the decision of the Gram Sabha. "The land acquisition carried out by the government is illegal as it is being done defying decision of the Gram Sabha and lack of a MoU with the state government," said CPI leader N Reddy.
Reddy along with party colleague Asish Kanungo, local Congress leader Jayant Biswal pledged that the villagers would not allow the steel major to venture into the area even as the government acquired land for them allegedly at gun point.
"The villagers will continue to protest the project in absence of their leader Abhay Sahu," said Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) secretary and Dhinkia panchayat sarpanch Sisir Mohapatra. He said the people are united and not ready to sacrifice their land for the project.
While the administration was about to complete land acquisition activities, both project opponents and supporters protested delay in identifying them as "project affected".
"The people have already lost their betel vines, fishing ponds and horticulture plants for the project. But, we do not understand why no one is so far declared project affected by the government," said Ranjan Bardhan, the leader of the project supporters group.
First Published: Wednesday, May 15, 2013, 19:11