Paradip (Orissa): The Orissa government
Tuesday said it has begun the land acquisition process for the
proposed Rs 51,000 crore Posco steel project in Jagatsinghpur
district near here amidst tight security.
"We have begun acquiring government land in possession of
individuals in Gada Kujang Panchayat area after proper
verification," Additional District Magistrate (Paradip), Saroj
K Choudhury said.
He said two persons, Rohit Behera and Basant Behera of
Bhuyanpal village, were among first to receive cheques for Rs
1.15 lakh each for their land of over 10 decimal area used
for cultivation of betel vine.
The work was progressing smoothly without trouble, he
Over 80 personnel from the Jagatsinghpur district
administration and Industrial Infrastructure Development
Corporation (IIDCO) were engaged for the land verification
work conducted with the help of Global Positioning System
(GPS), the ADM said.
Around 200 armed policemen were deployed in the area
during land verification and acquisition work undertaken by
the two teams, officials said.
The process started despite reservation by the central
committee of Union Ministries of Forest and Environment and
Tribal Affairs which termed the land acquisition without
implementing the Forest Land Rights Act as illegal.
"Under Section 7 of the Forest Right Act, 2006, the
officials involved in land acquisition at this stage are
liable to be punished," said Asish Kothari, a member of the
Though Posco-India had signed the MoU with the Orissa
government for setting up a 12 mtpa steel plant in June, 2005,
not an inch of land could be acquired due to stiff resistance
from local people.
The state government has initiated steps for renewal of
the MoU, which lapsed last month.