Land acquisition continued for the third day today with the administration finding support from project supporters who put up huge welcome banners and forced the anti group to retreat from the site of the Rs 52,000 crore Posco steel plant in Odisha’s Jagatsinghpur district.
“Land acquisition was undertaken peacefully for the third day in a row. Dismantling of betel vine plantations in Gobindpur village has almost reached the final stage with local people cooperating,” District Collector S K Mallick said.
Altogether 16 betel vine plantations were demolished and Rs 22 lakh in cheques paid as compensation, while 300 trees were also felled, Mallick said.
Two teams were demolishing the plantations and another was making surveys under security provided by 350 armed policemen, he said.
Huge banners with slogans like ‘Welcome Posco’ and ‘We want the steel plant’ were put up by pro-project supporters at 15 places in Gobindpur village backing the administration.
Pro-Posco activists also forced the anti-group to retreat when they turned up, police sources said.
A project supporter Ranjan Bardhan said land was being acquired with the consent of people.
“Besides, people whose land is not being acquired have no reason to create problems,” he said.
Anti-Posco activists had yesterday made a bid to prevent demolition of betel vines and asked policemen to leave.
The administration announced widow pension for Prabhati Mandal, whose husband Nabin Mandal was killed in a bomb explosion in the area recently, the collector said, adding that she had handed over her betel vines.
Disability pension was also approved for Natabar Khatua who lost a palm in violence in the area earlier, he said.
[Source — Business Standard]