Officials hold talks with pro-steel plant villagers
After a few months, local villagers opposing the Posco steel plant in Odisha’s Jagatsinghpur district have relaunched their agitation following the district administration’s fresh attempt to acquire land for the project.
Members of the Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS), who are spearheading the agitation, have re-erected bamboo barricades and sealed entry points into Dhinkia-Gobindapur area to prevent any attempt by the district officials or the police to enter. “Forget about land acquisition, district officials will not be allowed to step into the area,” said PPSS leader Abhay Sahu.
According to sources, more than ten platoons of the police have already been deployed in the area in view of the agitation.
The state government has already acquired 2,000 of the 2700 acres of land required for the mega project.
The process to acquire the remaining 700 acres began last week with District Collector S K Mallick holding a series of discussions with pro-Posco villagers besides the district police.
Plant size reduced
Posco had planned to set up a 12 million tonnes per annum steel mill in the coastal district at a cost of Rs 52,000 crore. However, the size of the plant has now been reduced to eight million tonnes per annum.
Activists and NGOs supporting the anti-Posco movement have strongly criticised the state government’s decision to restart the land acquisition process when a case is still pending before the green tribunal.
Also, the MoU between the Odisha government and the South Korean steel major is pending renewal after it expired in the middle of 2010.
[Source — Deccan Herald]