Orissa govt in talks with Posco agitators

Bhubaneswar: Amid stiff resistance to Posco steel project, Orissa government on Tuesday said talks were on with agitators to resolve the issue as work at proposed plant site near Paradip was stalled for the third consecutive day due to a road blockade at a key junction.

"The district administration of Jagatsinghpur is holding talks with villagers in the proposed Posco plant area to convince them about benefits of the project," Chief Secretary B K Patnaik told reporters here.

To a query, he said there is no proposal at present for discussion at the chief minister's level as talks are being held between the district administration and locals on a regular basis to resolve the issue.

Talks with protesters assumed significance as work at the proposed Posco site in Jagatsinghpur district was stalled for the third day with locals staging a road blockade at a key junction pressing for their demands including enhanced compensation to land losers.

"People have blocked the road near Balisahi making it difficult for our teams to proceed for boundary wall and rehabilitation colony construction," Basudev Prodhan, Tahasildar of Kujang said.

Balisahi junction is the place from where roads lead to Nuagaon and Dhinkia panchayts in the proposed site for Rs 52,000 crore Posco steel project near Paradip.

Due to the road blockade, armed police were unable to proceed and are now staying near Mahabirpeetha of Nuagaon, about four km from Balisahi, sources said.

Protesting against felling of trees near Noliasahi- Polang area, slogan-shouting United Action Committee (UAC) activists squatted on the road.