Bhubaneswar: Without waiting for the allotment of 2,700 acre required for its mega steel plant near Paradip in Jagatsinghpur district, Posco-India Saturday began building a boundary wall on the demarcated line for 1,703 acre handed over by the Odisha government.
"We have handed over the boundary wall construction to a contractor who started work with the consent of the local people at Nuagaon village," a field official of Posco-India claimed.
Stating that there was no protest from villagers, he said that the work started without police or district officials being present.
The building of the boundary wall began about five months after the state government completed land acquisition of 2,700 acre for setting up the 8 mtpa steel mill in the first phase.
The company requires 4004 acre to set up the 12 mtpa steel plant at an investment of Rs 51,000 crore.
The move came a day after the state's Steel and Mines minister Rajnikant Singh said that the government could not hand over the additional 1,000 acre to the company unless the National Green Tribunal gave its nod.
A Posco-India official said that the construction of boundary wall would prevent encroachment.
Describing the construction as illegal, Prashant Paikraya, spokesman of Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti which has been opposing the project since its inception in 2005, asked "How can the company take up construction unless the stay by NGT is vacated?
"We will draw attention of NGT which is scheduled to hear a case on December 17," PPSS president Abhay Sahu said.
He claimed that the district administration and police kept away after realising that the construction was illegal at this juncture.
The company had earlier planned the ground breaking ceremony early next year during South Korean President Park Geun-hye's visit to India to participate in the Republic Day function.
Leader of the project supporters group Tamil Pradhan also did not approve of the construction.
"Whatever they are doing, is without consulting the local people," he said.
Posco-India had sought the help of the Cabinet Committee on Investment to help salvage its project.