Bhubaneswar: The United Action Committee (UAC), which supports Posco`s proposed mega steel project in Orissa`s Jagatsinghpur district, has demanded higher prices for parting with land during talks with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.
While the South Korean steel major in its earlier rehabilitation package agreed to pay Rs 75,000 per acre of agricultural land, the UAC has demanded Rs 40 lakh, which was about 53 times more.
For betel vines, for which Posco had fixed the cost at Rs seven lakh per acre, the UAC demanded Rs 25 lakh. They also submitted a 29-point charter of demands.
Taken aback by the demand, an executive at Posco`s country headquarters said, "We don`t understand whether UAC is supporting the project or opposing it by making such exorbitant demands."
If the demands were to be conceded, the company would have to re-estimate its project cost of Rs 52,000 crore, he said.
UAC leader Tamil Pradhan, however, did not think the rate quoted was abnormally high.
"If the price of barren land can be Rs 19.10 lakh per acre at Paradip, there is nothing wrong in demanding Rs 40 lakh per acre for fertile and multi-crop agricultural land at Dhinkia, Gada Kujang and Nuagaon gram panchayat areas," Pradhan said.
"I don`t think that the UAC is demanding much. Another company has already fixed price of an acre at Rs 19.10 lakh in Paradip area," Pradhan told a news agency.
As the people would lose their houses and livelihood, the price was not high, he said, adding but this could be negotiated.
Meanwhile, the socio-economic and forest land survey went on peacefully for the second day at Dhinkia and Gobindpur villages, considered the epicentre of the anti-Posco agitation.