Pro-Posco group president resigns

Land acquisition for Posco`s mega steel plant in Orissa`s Jagatsinghpur, which was to have resumed on June 17 and remained stalled, was again put off after the president of a pro-project group resigned.

Paradip: Land acquisition for Posco`s
mega steel plant in Orissa`s Jagatsinghpur, which was to have
resumed on June 17 and remained stalled, was again put off
after the president of a pro-project group resigned on Monday.

The resignation of Anadi Rout, president of the Joint Action Committee (JAC), apparently came after resentment
brewed among leaders that contractors from outside would be
employed for setting up the boundary wall of the project.

The resentment gained ground as some members alleged
involvement of a kin of the JAC president in engaging an
outsider as contractor on his behalf, sources said.
Officials of state-owned Industrial Infrastructure
Development Corporation (IIDCO) and contractors last night
visited Polanga and Noliasahi villages under Gadakujanga
panchayat for laying the foundation for the boundary walls.

During the visit JAC leaders demanded fulfilment of
their demands including appointment of locals as contractors.

Their other demands were employment for one member
from each family, enhanced compensation to land-losers and
proper rehabilitation of the projected-affected people.

The officials and contractors left the area in the
face of protests, the sources said.
Gadakujanga, Nuagaon and Dhinkia are the three gram
panchayats where the Posco project is proposed to be set up.

"I have resigned as president of JAC on health
grounds," Rout told PTI but said he would continue to support
and cooperate with the Posco project.

Rout`s resignation seemed to have put the district
administration in a tizzy and it suspended land acquisition
which was to begin today.

"We will first clear up areas where betel vine
plantations were demolished. Then we will take a decision when
to resume land acquisition," Additional District Magistrate of
Paradip Sarojkanta Choudhury said.

The police were deployed at Balitutha near Dhinkia
gram panchyat, considered the epi-centre of the anti-Posco
agitation.

The opposing group, Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti
meanwhile held a meeting at a temple at Gobindpur and resolved
to put up a three-tier human chain comprising children, women
and youths against land acquisition.

PTI

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