Posco land acquisition halted; parties allege violation

Land acquisition for the Rs 52,000-crore mega steel project in Jagatsinghpur district remained suspended for the second day on Friday with protests continuing even as Posco-India expressed optimism about completion of land clearance in a few days.

The state government which halted the land acquisition at Gobindpur village on Wednesday did not attempt to enter the area where demonstrations by children, women and elderly persons took place.

“There was no land acquisition today for certain reasons,” Additional District Magistrate (Paradip) Surjit Das said, adding that the administration would take appropriate steps with the consent of the local people.

With Posco requiring about 2,700 acre to start construction of its 8 mtpa integrated steel plant in stage one, the state government has acquired 200 acre since Sunday out of 700 acre targeted. It had acquired 2,000 acre earlier.

“We are happy that the land clearance process has resumed again and hope it will be over smoothly with the support of villagers, without any further halt or obstruction. We hope to start land preparation work soon,” Posco-India Chairman and Managing Director Yong Won Yoon said.

With the current phase of land clearance by the authorities progressing peacefully and well with the consent of villagers, it will take some days for the completion of the process, Yoon said.

Meanwhile, in New Delhi, CPI leader D Raja on Friday alleged gross violation of human rights of local people at the POSCO sight.

“The fresh move to acquire land is illegal as it is not part of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Government and the company. It should be stopped immediately,” the CPI leader said.

Raja was addressing a meeting of social activists called in to show solidarity with the anti-POSCO struggle. He released a booklet on the human rights violations in the area.

Raja on Thursday visited the sight and also led a protest over there. He alleged that administration and police authorities are resorting to repression and atrocities.  “Several cases have been slapped on peaceful activists. One young lady is facing as many as 53 cases, “he said.

Eminent lawyer and Aam Aadmi Party leader Prashant Bhushan alleged that police, goondas have joined hands to unleash violence against poor people. He said that this is part of the resource loot.

[Source — Deccan Herald]


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