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  • Orissa govt resumes land acquisition for Posco project

    Published on July 31, 2010

    Orissa government on Friday resumed land acquisition at Posco’s proposed Rs 51,000 crore mega steel plant site near Paradip after a two-day halt to the process after facing stiff opposition from villagers.

    “We have distributed compensation to six betel farmers, who agreed to part with their betel vines today. In all eight betel vines have so far been acquired in Posco’s proposed plant site area,” Land Acquisition Officer (LAO) Nrusingh Swain said.

    About Rs 6.7 lakh was paid as compensation to the vine owners at the rate of Rs 11 lakh per acre as announced by the South Korean steel major, he said, adding the betel vines acquired on Friday are located at Polang village under Gada Kujang gram panchayat falling in the project area.

    More than 1,700 betel vines spread over 300 acres of government land would be acquired soon, he said.

    Pro-project United Action Committee (UAC), which has changed its stand, has opposed the government’s move to acquire land before finalising the price for agricultural land, betel vines and prawn ponds.

    Welcoming the UAC’s stand, Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti president Abhay Sahu said it should put pressure on the administration to stop acquisition till Forest Rights Act rules are met.

    Sahu alleged that the betel vines which were handed over to the administration were left barren for some days.

    “There was not a single betel plant in the vines put for acquisition,” Sisir Mohapatra, the sarpanch of Dhinkia which falls within the project area, said.

    A joint-committee of the ministry of forest and environment and tribal affairs had raised objection to land acquisition at the villages in the proposed site, saying Forest Rights Act was grossly violated in the process.

    Asish Kothari, a committee member, had said on 27th July that the forest ministry would be recommended to withdraw clearance given to Posco-India project.