Orissa likely to resume land acquisition for Posco Wednesday

The Orissa government is likely to resume after nine months land acquisition work for Posco steel plant from Wednesday, even as villagers supporting the project decided to stay away from the process.

Last Updated: May 18, 2011, 00:17 AM IST

Bhubaneswar: The Orissa government is likely to resume after nine months land acquisition work for Posco steel plant near Paradip from Wednesday, even as villagers supporting the project decided to stay away from the process, a senior official said.

"We have decided to resume land acquisition work from tomorrow. Our staff will go to the proposed plant site villages and start the process tomorrow," Jagatsinghpur district collector NC Jena said late Tuesday over phone.

The land acquisition work was halted on August 6, 2010 in view of a stop work order from the ministry of environment and forest.

On the non-cooperation threat from the villagers against the project, Jena said, "The revenue divisional commissioner has already convened rehabilitation and periphery development advisory committee meeting on May 30 to discuss demands of the local people."

"We hope the villagers will cooperate with the administration," Jena said.

The teams comprising officials from revenue department and IDCO (Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation of Orissa) will go to the proposed plant site areas for land acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement officer (Jagatsinghpur), Surjit Das said.
The land acquisition work will resume from Polang under Gada Kujang gram panchayat, a strong hold of pro-project group, an official said.

The district administration of Jagatsinghpur had meanwhile made adequate security arrangement for smooth land acquisition work keeping in view the threat of disruption from anti-project groups.

Though only two platoons (about 60 personnel) of armed forces were deployed at Balitutha, the entry point to the proposed plant site villages, majority of security personnel were kept in reserve at Kujang, about 10 km from the villages, they said.

Meanwhile, uncertainty prevails over the state government`s move as villagers supporting the project have decided not to come forward for receiving compensation from the administration in return for their land.
"We will not cooperate with them (administration) if they come for land acquisition work tomorrow. Our non-cooperation will continue till fulfilment of our six-point charter of demands," said United Action Committee (UAC) president Anadi Charan Rout.

Earlier, chairman-cum-managing director of IDCO Priyabrat Patnaik had announced the state government`s plan to resume land acquisition process from May 18.

While people supporting the project had made it clear that they would not co-operate unless their demands are fulfilled, the villagers opposing the Rs 52,000 crore project are not ready to budge from their stand.

"We will certainly oppose the administration if they come for land acquisition. Elderly persons, women and children will stand on the road," said Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti chief Abhay Sahu.

Chief secretary BK Patnaik said, "It is the job of Jagatsinghpur district administration to decide when to resume land acquisition work for Posco. The district collector is holding talks with different stakeholders".

PTI