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  • Orissa to resume land acquisition for Posco project from 18th May

    Published on May 7, 2011

    Armed with the final forest clearance order for the mega Posco steel project near Paradip, Orissa govt has decided to resume land acquisition activities from 18th May even as opponents of the South Korean steel major were preparing to foil the bid.

    “The state government will begin land acquisition work for Posco project from the place where it halted last year in view of a stop work order from the ministry of environment and forest (MoEF). The land acquisition work will be completed within a month,” chairman-cum-managing director of the state owned Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (IDCO) Priyabrat Patnaik told reporters in Bhubaneswar on Saturday.

    The decision in this regard was taken at a meeting between the Chief Secretary B K Patnaik, IDCO officials and representatives from the Jagatsinghpur district administration. Some senior police officers also attended the meeting.

    The IDCO which was in-charge of acquiring land for different projects, had to abandon land acquisition work at the proposed plant site villages of Posco on 6th August 2010 after the MoEF objected to it based on the recommendation of the N C Saxena Committee which pointed out gross violation of provisions under the Forest Rights Act, 2006.

    Claiming that the project had meanwhile, received support from majority of the local people, Patnaik said that the government had retrieved about 11 acre of land during the previous land acquisition effort by acquiring 96 betel vines plantations.

    The affected betel vine farmers were given adequate compensation.

    As most of the betel vines were illegally raised over the government land, the officials would first ensure that those land were retrieved, he said adding that some fish ponds also existed over the government land.

    Patnaik, however, said that as per the government’s decision, private land (about 300 acre) from Dhinkia village would not be acquired as announced by the chief minister.

    Of the total 4,004 acre of land required for Posco project, 2,900 acre were forest land which needed permission from MoEF for diversion before being handed over to the company for setting up its proposed Rs 52,000 crore project.

    Meanwhile, the Posco-India CMD Gee Woong Sung met Paradip MLA and agriculture minister Damodar Rout and sought his cooperation before resuming land acquisition work at the proposed project site.

    “Yes, Posco-India CMD met me. He wanted me to help in motivating people in favour of the company”, Rout said adding that he was confident that the land acquisition work would be completed without much hassles.

    Meanwhile, the CPI backed Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) re-erected bamboo gates at seven entry points to the proposed plant site villages.

    PPSS leaders were holding series meetings both in the state capital and at the proposed plant site villages to chalk out their strategy on how to stop land acquisition work.

    Replying to a question, the IDCO CMD said, “There is no difficulty in land acquisition at the proposed plant site villages even as the MoU with Posco-India lapsed about 10 months ago.”

    “The government cannot handover land to the company unless there is a MoU. But there is no restriction on the government to acquire land for industrial purpose,” he said.