BHUBANESWAR/ KENDRAPADA: After a six-week hiatus, the state government resumed demolition of betel vines at Gobindapur village in Jagatsinghpur district on Monday to acquire land for the proposed Posco steel project.
“Local people cooperated with us to dismantle 19 betel vines on government land. We have paid compensation of around Rs 23 lakh to the betel vine owners,” Jagatsinghpur collector S K Mallick told TOI. Those, who handed over their vines to the administration include Parvati Mandal, widow of Nabin Mandal alias Tarun, who was killed in a crude bomb blast at Dhinkia village on March 2. “We demolished both the betel vines belonging to Parvati and handed over the compensation,” Mallick said, “We have acquired about 500 acre at Gobindapur. The remaining 200 acre will be acquired soon.” The government has so far acquired around 2,000 acre and plans to take over another 700 acre so that Posco could begin the first-phase work.
The administration had stopped land acquisition work on March 8, a day after some anti-Posco women resorted to a semi-nude protest opposing deployment of security forces in the region. The collector said land acquisition had been stopped as the state assembly was in session and the examination season of students on.
Resumption of land acquisition activities amid deployment of 12 platoons of security forces coincided with senior Posco executives meeting development commissioner Jugal Mohapatra at the secretariat to discuss ways to expedite implementation of the $12 billion steel mill.
It also came on the eve of an inter-ministerial group (IMG) meeting scheduled in New Delhi to deliberate on the mega steel project. The IMG meet is a precursor to the second joint committee meeting at the ministerial level in Seoul in May.
[Source — Times of India]